Turkey Muslim party pass new Law to protect woman.

topic posted Sat, March 17, 2012 - 4:30 PM by  Elo
<Turkish Islamists vs. Turkish women?

About two months ago, Texas Governor Rick Perry, who was then a U.S. Presidential hopeful, made headlines with a provocative statement. “Turkey should be kicked out of NATO,” he said in a Fox News interview, as the country “was being ruled by what many would perceive to be Islamic terrorists.”
Upon hearing that unexpected comment, I wrote a short tweet that was less polite than my usual tone, which became more noticed than I had expected. (“Rick Perry: what an idiot,”

I wrote, in a line which was picked up by some American media outlets). What made me so blunt was not just the recklessness of Mr. Perry, but the line of reasoning he used to argue that the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government could be called “Islamic terrorists”: His greatest evidence was that there are honor killings in Turkey and their numbers have increased in the past decade.

With the same line of reasoning, one could have called the United States government “terrorists” as well, by simply referring to the high number of violent crimes in America. But obviously, the fact that neither the U.S. nor the Turkish governments condone those violent crimes would render that line of thinking ridiculous.

Now, that infamous comment by Rick Perry was two months ago. Fast forward to this week, and fly over the Atlantic to come to Ankara. The Turkish Parliament, which is dominated by the party Mr. Perry fumed about, passed new legislation about women this Thursday. The bill did not reward honor killings, encourage female genital mutilation or impose the burqa. (The latter two are non-issues in Turkey anyway.) It rather brought new protective measures for women against aggressive men.
As the Daily News summarized well, “The law provides protection for all women: married, divorced, engaged or in a relationship.”

Accordingly, in cases of life-threatening danger, authorities will make urgent protection decisions or issue restraining orders on husbands, who could also be monitored with electric handcuffs. Spouses in clear and present danger could be given a new life and identity, as in the “witness protection” programs of the FBI and other police forces.

It should be noted that some feminist organizations still criticized the bill for being “family-minded” rather than focusing on women solely as individuals. (No wonder the bill was devised by the “Family and Social Policy Ministry” of the AKP government). But this is not a scandal: the AKP is a self-declared “conservative” party with sympathy for “family values.” It would only be a scandal had they sacrificed individual rights for these values, which is not the case at all.

In fact, the AKP improved the legal status of Turkish women before as well, in 2004, by amending the Turkish Penal Code - which used to be lenient to “honor crimes” - in a radically feminist way. (See the report titled “Sex and Power in Turkey” by the European Stability Initiative) Moreover, in the past decade, it has actually been Turkey’s secularists who discriminated against Turkish women, by depriving the veiled ones from the right to attend universities or get public jobs.

Meanwhile, the past decade’s increase in honor killings has less conspiratorial explanations than what Mr. Perry believed. The first is that most honor killings were not reported and defined as such before the 2000s. Secondly, these tragic episodes increased partly, and paradoxically, because of modernization: More internet access, for example, gives isolated women more access to society — something that can drive paranoid husbands crazy.

The bottom line is that one should not panic automatically when the words “Islam” and “women” come together. Their interaction, apparently, can be less alarming than what some are ready to believe.

posted by:
offline Elo
  • hey Andrew, no interest in this story then ? guess it doesnt conform to your stereotype of Islamic governments repressing woman.
    • <hey Andrew, no interest in this story then ? guess it doesnt conform to your stereotype of Islamic governments repressing woman.>


      This is just another way that you are trying to create a narrative that Turkey is getting better beyond a reasonable expectation of what 'better' actually means. In 1964, America passed some serious civil rights legislation. Should we then have patted ourselves on the back then? Claimed how much greater we are getting because we passed some legislation? The problem? In much of America, there was no care to enforce this new legislation...BUT! We passed a law! Someone pat us on the back! Was it good that we did it? Sure. We could only have gone up from there. Will Turkey go up from there? We will see.
      • <Will Turkey go up from there? We will see. >

        YOU will wait to see, most people who dont deeply dislike Islam can see already that Turkey is on the ascent, especialy Turks themselves.

        Its rare for countries to change profoundly really fast in just a handful of years, you measure these things in decades, and the complete transformation of any nation will normally take at least 3 or 4 decades.

        However on this kind of scale of historic change Turkey is clearly going VERY fast if we look at the past decade, there economy in that last decade has TRIPLED in size (!), as i have already proven to you by the most reliable ranking globally on countries civil rights and political process, they have doubled there score since the Muslim AKP have come to power over this last decade.

        Now if them factors continue at roughly the same rate, within about another 10 years Turkey will have the same level of civil rights and political rights as a western nation, and in around another 20 years from now the same GDP per head as any western nation. It may infact be the first of the BRIC nations to achieve the latter, though on the former Brazil are already a bit ahead of Turkey and India around the same.

        Considering where Turkey was 10 or 20 years ago, , that is an extremely rapid transformation. On par with the transformation of post war Germany and Japan during the 50s and 60s. Sure the next 10-20 years still has to happen, but as i say, if teh carry on at the pace of improvements of the last 10 years they will have transformed themselves from a developing nation to developed nation in only 30 years.

        And the fact that you two are pretty much in denial or at least battling with me to deny the facts of the improvements in the last 10 years, leads me to think there is no reason why you wont just keep spinning a false story about Turkey the next 10 and 20 years no matter what kind of progress we see there, or at least until your version of Turkey becomes so divorced from the reality there that it becomes a joke.

        No matter, you two may be waiting to see, but Turkey right now is doing anything but waiting.

        • Maybe above is a bit unfair as Andrew at least does seem to be begrudgingly accepting Turkey are improving. Andrew of course nobody is saying Turkey dont have more work to do, but if they transform themselves from a developing nation to a developed one in around 30 years that's impressive by anybody's standards.

          By the way i have never disputed Israel as a country has some pretty impressive traits, not least establishing itself as a developed nation in such a short space of time, but the issue with the Palestinians is something that cant be ignored, solve that and Israel will certainly have much to be proud of.

          Ignoring it is like going on about how great America was on lots of things relative to other nations around say the late 60s, yet ignoring what was going on in Vietnam.

          • And as I have repeatedly indicated, "better" and "worse" are relative terms that don't really speak to the specifics. For instance, maybe they have "better" infant mortality rates, burt "worse" public schools. The simpletonian view of "better" and/or "worse" does not really address the collective reality.