One thing among many others that has surfaced along with the social media boom in Turkey is misogyny. Periodic outbursts by religious figures against women have become common. However, these outbursts are not just the words of the extremists, but are pushing into the mainstream.
One of the leading misogynists in Turkey’s religious sphere is Nurettin Yıldız. Yıldız is the head of the Social Fabric Foundation which aims to help the poor and educate children about religious matters. Nurettin Yıldız loves using social media, and he often publishes videos in which he shares his wisdom about daily issues, and sometimes, political matters as well.
For example, in one of his videos, Yıldız says that if a man beats his wife, the wife “should be thankful” and think there must be a “plausible reason” for being beaten, since “the man always knows better.” In another video, he claims women should not work, since working will make them “dissatisfied.” To many, these are still the words of a fundamentalist who is semi-detached from reality. However, day by day, these ideas are sneaking into the mainstream.
A famous pop star Kıraç gave an interview in which he said that “modern women are insensitive”—he explained further by saying that women are so focused on working that “they don’t even make breakfast for their husbands anymore.” While his words caused a lot of negative reaction from feminist circles, he also received a lot of public support for these comments.
Şevki Yılmaz, a former member of parliament and one of the “stars” of the February 28, 1997 so-called “postmodern coup,” delivered a speech at Recep Tayyip Erdoğan University. There he yelled, “The ones who look for women’s law in Europe are mistaken! Since when has pimping become a law?” He then argued that the Istanbul Convention “forces fathers to make tea for their daughters’ fuck buddies.” Regardless of how ridiculous his words may sound, this speech resonated in a conference room of a university, and, more importantly, was applauded by students.
This new sentiment, slowly taking over Turkish mainstream through different avenues, is in direct contradiction to the Istanbul Convention, which aims to prevent violence against women and domestic violence in general. The conservative part of Turkish politics perceives the human rights of women as an obstacle to the unity of the family. The movement against alimony is growing, and more and more men are refusing to pay it. There are even organizations formed to fight against alimony.
According to Turkish civil law, the party who has the economic advantage in the marriage must pay the children’s expenses and some expenses of the former spouse. In most cases the economic advantage lies with the man, since on the one hand many men do not want their wives to work. In addition, social inequalities cause men to be the breadwinners of the families, not the women.
This change in sentiment also seems to be affecting lawmakers. Back in 2016, with a majority in the parliament, the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) tried to pass a law that would lower the legal age for marriage, basically providing an “opportunity” for rapists to go unpunished by marrying their own victims. AKP claimed this law was actually going to protect young couples who marry at a very young age due to Anatolian traditions.
In 2016 the draft caused serious backlash, and AKP had to withdraw the proposal. However, there are rumors that AKP is planning to resubmit the infamous draft law through the upcoming judicial reform package.
While the famous TV show The Handmaid’s Tale may look like a fictional dystopia for many in the West, it is daily life for many in the East.
Nobody in their right mind can think that being an opposition party in an autocratic environment is easy. However, one cannot learn how to swim without jumping in the water. Ali Babacan's party DEVA seems to be enjoying the dry land, not taking any risks, at a time when citizens are expecting brave and wise leadership.
At a time when Turkey, just like the rest of the world, is under grave threat from a new, unknown virus, and the state has to indirectly admit that it could soon be unable to pay for the basic needs, it is becoming obvious how costly President Erdoğan's populist megalomania projects are.
The health minister announcing the new numbers every night is creating an illusion of transparency. However, Turkish people are mostly being left in the dark. Little is being shared about the scope of the spread. Meanwhile it seems that President Erdoğan and his son-in-law and the Minister of the Economy see the coronavirus as an opportunity.
Turks on both the left and right of the spectrum have been united by conspiracy theories about the novel coronavirus, COVID-19. After the virus appeared, discourse about the U.S. trying to prevent the development of mighty China spread all over social media. Nationalist, leftist figures writing and speaking about the virus preferred to accuse the West when it came to the outbreak.
It is a fact that the ruling government has an obsession about Taksim square. The square is not only closed to women rallies, but pretty much any rally and gathering. There are though exceptions. One exception had been a group of Syrians celebrating new years with Free Syrian Army flags.
The refugees are not being told the truth by the authorities, Turkish public is not being told the truth either. Everybody is being kept in darkness that leads the way to more resentment and hatred.
Football in Turkey, as in many European countries, is structured around masculinity. Game days are the days when men can act like savages, insult men and women freely, and attack anyone they like — and they don’t face any consequences.
Turkey is still divided by the Gezi protests. Some see the protests as a struggle for freedom that had never happened before in Turkey and remember it with pride, while others detest the memory of the protests. For Erdoğan’s 50 percent, when the state tells you not to do something, you ought not to do it.
In a meeting between Mr Erdoğan and his party’s MPs, some MPs voiced their concerns about Turkish soap operas that they found to be not suitable for Turkish values and culture. According to the reports, Mr. Erdoğan agreed with the MPs and told them he was disturbed as well. When the President voices a concern about a matter, a new decree or law usually follows.
The chaos that occurred after the June 2015 election worked for Erdoğan, but his approval ratings tend to fall when terror attacks or wars halt and people start worrying about the economy. According to Metropoll, the last time Erdoğan’s approval rating was higher than 50 percent was 2018; the economy seems to be taking its toll on Erdoğan.
Up until now, the local businessmen used to support AKP without reservation, and it used to be a win-win situation for both parties. However, this cooperation seems to be fading. When Suriçi Group Platform hosts CHP chair Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, it is a significant development for Turkish politics.
There is the talk of early elections, both on the street and in back rooms. There is an expectation that some change will occur. The Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) has a more critical part to play in Turkish politics. However, it seems that it won’t be easy for the HDP to keep their traditional voter base satisfied while becoming a more relevant actor in the upcoming political period.
While many of the pro-government figures in Turkey were preaching about what sort of a villain Soleimani was, the Turkish secular left was busy describing him as the “Che Guevara of the Middle East.” Though it depends on how one perceives Che Guevara, the comparison was supposed to be a compliment to Soleimani’s legacy.
Totalitarian systems usually come up with their own ideal man. Tayyip Erdoğan believes the future of his Turkey lies in İmam Hatip school education. He believes the only way to create his “ideal man” is to educate young Turkish people in line with the strict religious education of the imam hatip schools. As Erdoğan became stronger, so did the imam hatip schools.
President Erdoğan’s military advisor and the founder of the armed group SADAT, recently suggested that Islamic unity will be possible when Mahdi comes. Erdoğan’s military advisor announcing his mission to prepare for Mahdi’s arrival is definitely not a good sign for Turkey’s near future.
Horses tumbling down and breathing their last breaths, while still being harnessed to the carriage has also turned into an everyday scene at the Princes’ Islands of Istanbul. Weak, limping horses trying to pull crowded families up the hills, often looks like a horror scene from a dystopian movie.
Led by Erdoğan, the AKP has been reshaping the secular life of Turks for the last 17 years, bit by bit. The latest in the line of religiously-inspired incidents happened in Adana, a southern Turkish city with a unique character whose people are proud of their city, their type of kabab and their Adana ways.
Last Sunday, women gathered in one of the Istanbul’s busy centers, Kadıköy. Their aim was to protest violence against women and the inaction of the state. However, as usual in recent years in Turkey, the police jumped in and dispersed the crowd, detaining some of the women protesters.
Turkey is now being ruled by an exceptional version of a presidential system. Everything is ultimately decided by the President, with ministries and the legislative branch having a marginal influence. But he also wants citizens to be able to reach the Palace directly. And CIMER is the answer!
Imamoğlu ran his election campaign not on a narrative of fighting, but a narrative of peace. He promised to be inclusive, and he was careful not to target Erdoğan in his speeches. He aimed to grab AKP votes by not targeting Erdoğan. However, now it seems that he is shifting gears.
Gas prices have doubled overnight in Iran. Since Nov. 15, street protests and riots have been spreading. The protests started peacefully, but turned violent fairly quickly. The security forces were relentless: they had no intention of tolerating this public objection to the price increase.
One of the heaviest financial crises in Turkey’s history was in 2001. It first became public symbolically when a salesman threw a cash till at then-Prime Minister Bülent Ecevit. The man threw the giant cash box in front of the cameras as Ecevit was walking into his office. As the till hit the floor and shattered into pieces, the salesman yelled, “We are struggling!” The incident symbolically marked the beginning of the end of the Ecevit era.
The Sevres Syndrome has been a factor that impedes rationality for many Turkish citizens trying to make some sense of global dynamics. In recent years, Turkish-American relations have deteriorated at an unprecedented rate. For many Turks, this was simply another example of hatred against the Turks, this time coming from across the ocean. However, even in the more rational circles in Turkey, it is almost impossible to hear critical analysis concerning Turkey’s responsibility in the failing relationship.
After the collapse of the Ottoman Empire, Turks established the Turkish Republic. However, even the issue of what to celebrate proves that Turks have a long road ahead before they feel like a truly united nation that shares similar ideals and prospects for future.