Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Bülent Arınç made some eyebrow-raising comments about the country’s citizens recently. Among other things, he said the Turkish people had “abandoned their values” and were being ruined by “high consumption” of material goods. Fair enough.
One comment about women by the conservative Arınç was a bit troubling, though. He spoke of “moral corruption” and said television programs and commercials were turning young people from “symbols of chastity” into “sex addicts.” He stated how he longed for the days when women didn’t have free and comfortable interactions with people in public.
“Where are our girls, who slightly blush, lower their heads and turn their eyes away when we look at their face, becoming the symbol of chastity?” he said.
Then came the hammer. When speaking of how a woman should behave outside of the home, he said:
“She will not laugh in public. She will not be inviting in her attitudes and will protect her chasteness.”
Of course, one sure way to get people to laugh in public is to tell them not to do it. Turkish women did just that this week, and flooded social media with pictures of them displaying their right to public laughter:
Turkish citizen Mehtap Dogan of the Socialist Feminist Collective says Arınç’s comments exemplify his party’s attitude towards women.
“His words perfectly illustrate his and the [ruling] AK party's attitude towards women,” Dogan told The Guardian. “In their eyes, women should not have any rights, they treat us like a separate species.”