Turkey, 2016

“The properties and women of the putschists belong to the nation now,” said a tweet from Veysel Taşkın, one of the administrators of Trabzonspor in the Black Sea city, a stronghold of the Justice and Development Party (AKP), the party of Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, current Turkish President. In Turkey the secular values that inspired the founding father of the nation, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, seem to have reached their end. And with them gender equality. From his rise to power, at the beginning of the 2000s, the President Sultan, dressed with elegant tailored western-style suits, reintroduced in schools and public of ces the use of the headscarf which Atatürk banned in 1924. After the attempted coup a rise in cases of violence against women occurred in Turkey.

This has coincided with their disappearance from the public scene and an advancement of radical Islam which involves a widespread compression of their rights. There are numerous testimonies of secular Turkish women which express a growing sense of insecurity and a tendency towards self-censorship of their behavior, habits or clothing. Showing themselves in public with arms and legs uncovered subjects them to ever more violent reprisals by the conservatives. In November 2016 a proposal from within the President’s party to revise the laws concerning so-called “child brides” was discussed in Parliament. The rule would have allowed shotgun weddings in cases of statutory rape of girls under the age of 16, the current minimum age permitted for marriage.