In case you're not keeping score, his government censored genitalia and the proper names of genitalia from Biology textbooks; banned his military from watching nudie shows like Game of Thrones; rewritten history to make it more patriotic and took issue with lip-o-suction kissing on daytime television.
It's hard for me to keep up with this leader who's apparently very concerned about morality and Islamic morals and is not ashamed to show the nation's more fundamentalist religious groups he's serious about it. Well, the rhetoric is getting more severe and it looks like he's trying to make a lasting legacy with generations to come and pretty much screw any sort of secular Turkey.
A few days ago, Ergodan started saying things like this:
“Our religion [Islam] has defined a position for women: motherhood,” Erdoğan said at a summit in Istanbul on justice for women, speaking to an audience including his own daughter Sumeyye.How quaintly Victorian sounding. It's strange because most of the women I know with children would easily qualify as feminists by his definition. I'm willing to guess that, save some religious quiverfull types... etc., most women in the developed world would take issue with this. But, you know, it's not Ergodan who's saying this, it's just his religion, you know? You gonna argue with that?
“Some people can understand this, while others can’t. You cannot explain this to feminists because they don’t accept the concept of motherhood.”
I wonder if the Duggars would get along with him on this point? You know, this all sounds startingly familiar!
“Motherhood is something else,” he said, claiming that it should be a woman’s priority because Islam exalts women as mothers.I know, how about letting the women decide what they wish to do and then hire them on the basis of whether they can do it? Canada is still not a panacea of women's equality in the workplace but come on! The only possible excuse for ideas this retrograde are the doctrines of some ancient religion.
He went on to say that women and men could not be treated equally “because it goes against the laws of nature”.
“Their characters, habits and physiques are different … You cannot place a mother breastfeeding her baby on an equal footing with men.
“You cannot make women work in the same jobs as men do, as in communist regimes. You cannot give them a shovel and tell them to do their work. This is against their delicate nature.”
Luckily, some of these evil feminists hit back, although I'm beginning to wonder for how long they will be in a position to do this.
MP Aylin Nazliaka:
“Erdoğan has publicly committed a hate crime … But I will continue to fight this man who sees no difference between terrorists and feminists,” she said in a written statement.Television anchorwoman Sule Zeybek is apparently one of those feminist mothers in which Ergodan doesn't believe:
“I am a feminist and thank God I’m a mum. I wouldn’t kiss my mother’s feet but I have great respect for her,” she said.In fact, it seems like this new highly religious Islamic government has declared its own war on women:
Erdoğan has drawn the ire of feminist groups for declaring that every woman in Turkey should have three children and with proposals to limit abortion rights, the morning-after pill and caesarean sections.I'm sure some progressives and secularists within and without Turkey are simply waiting for this insanity to pass, but it appears that long lasting damage could be done to the wall of state-mosque separation in Turkey. A recent Public Radio International feature on the phasing out of secular schools in favor of Islamic schools in Turkey in order to 'raise a more pious youth' has got those in the know concerned.
Seen by critics as increasingly authoritarian, he has repeatedly lashed out personally at female journalists who displeased him.
But the government’s attitude towards women came under even greater scrutiny after the deputy prime minister, Bülent Arinç, caused a furore in August by suggesting women should not laugh loudly in public.
Imam hatip schools were created in the early days of the Turkish Republic to train Sunni Muslim scholars. They’re now open to all students who want an education that emphasizes Sunni Islam.Even people within the educational system see the government's promotion and conversion of secular schools into religious schools as a concerted attack on science literacy -- which lines up well with the recent Biology textbook censorship debacle. Reminds me a little of Texas.
But what angers Fatma — and many others in Turkey — is that more and more secular schools are being converted into imam hatip schools. Just like the one in Fatma’s neighborhood.
A teacher at a secular middle school, Ozden Aras is worried about the shift. “I think science is more important than religion, but in Turkey now religion is more important than science,” she explains. This summer she found herself fighting to keep her school from being converted into an imam hatip school. Like the majority of Turkey, she’s Sunni. But she says the religious curriculum should be an option, not the norm.And this is not mere persuation, the increasingly conservative Islamic government is now actively attempting to limit and shut down secular education in the government, putting the future of secularism at risk.
Ozden and her school’s community resisted the government’s plans — and won. But that’s rare. More schools are being converted, and the number of imam hatip schools has leapt more than 70 percent in the past four years. At the opening of a new imam hatip school in Ankara last week, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan boasted that students enrolled in religious education increased 15-fold since he joined Turkey’s leadership in 2002. He has also said he wants Turkey to raise a more “pious youth.”This started out sort of funny, but now it's getting a bit serious. What's even more curious is how closely a lot of these moves seem to mirror the political activism of the fundamentalist Christian right in the United States. Perhaps different only in degree but the similarities of substance are strikingly similar.