In Turkey, the statements made by the lawyer and presenter Ömer Tugrul Inancer on the TRT television program are still causing unrest and opposition, and he has now called the religious authorities and representatives of women's rights groups into action.
Heavily pregnant women on the streets of the cities are "ugly" and the sight of them is "immoral", said the follower of the Sufism order Ömer Tugrul Inancer, also known as a Muslim intellectual, on TRT's television programme, literally: "not only immoral, but also ugly". Ömer Tuğrul İnançer is also the General Director of the State Ensemble for Classical Turkish Music and was thus a respected figure in almost every social group in the country. During pregnancy, Inancer continues, women from the 7th or 8th month should only leave the house in the evening and accompanied by their husbands and preferably sitting in the car if they feel the need for fresh air. It is not appropriate for them to go public. His comments triggered a storm of indignation. In Istanbul and Ankara in particular, angry pregnant women took to the streets, while some men put a pillow under their shirt in solidarity to support the pregnant women.
It is not part of Islam to imprison pregnant women
The Office for Religious Affairs immediately distanced itself from the statements: "It is not part of Islam to lock up pregnant women." According to the office, such a “curfew” would contradict all conventions.
"The limit of what is tolerable has been far exceeded with these statements," said Hilal Dokuzcu, politician of the women's association of the CHP. And further: "While rapists and perverts roam freely in the area, attempts are being made again and again to violate women's right to self-determination".
The former education minister of the AKP, Nimet Baş, is indignant. “Should a pregnant woman stay at home for about nine months? These statements are without any basis. He cannot justify it religiously or traditionally".
But instead of responding to the really justified criticism, Inancer insists on his theses: "My opinion has not changed. It's just unesthetic. In addition, pregnant women appear in commercials just so that some companies can sell their products. I see abuse here. But pregnancy is something honourable and honourable things should not be put on display." This is his statement in the newspaper Akşam and as he says "to protect the mother and the child-to-be. After all, companies send their women on maternity leave, so that they stayed at home".
It's my body It is my decision!
As a result, there were major protests in Istanbul and Ankara, which ultimately led to another aftermath: The Turkish Bar Association (TBB) now believes that this is an insult to women in general and is demanding the Supreme Council for Radio and Television that the broadcaster will be held accountable.
"The moderator's statements violate the principle of avoiding inciting hatred. They humiliate women and discriminate against them because of their gender. This is not compatible with equality between women and men," the Turkish newspaper Hurriyet quoted the Bar Association as saying.
"It's my body. It's my choice." Under this motto, hundreds of women took to the streets in Istanbul, Izmir and other Turkish cities last weekend. They appeared pregnant in public.
In Turkey you don't feel like an individual
And yet Turkish women like Beyhan Güngör are very angry. The 57-year-old is a mother and wife herself and doesn't want the state to dictate how she should deal with her body: "We women have been oppressed for around ten years, especially under the AKP government. Every detail of our lives has been tried to be organized. It is said that women should stay at home and just have children. At least three children, according to Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan." The active demonstrator and "feminist", as she describes herself, has already experienced many governments in Turkey, but Erdoğan, who has been in power since 2003, is worse than his predecessors: "Because of his Islamic roots, he tries to shape society from his Islamic point of view. That restricts women's freedoms" (see Senada Sokollu / quantara.de).
The women's protests also took place at the weekend in front of the TRT building in Izmir - the third largest city in Turkey is considered to be particularly modern and progressive. "It looks like I'm free here. I can wear my shorts and skirts, but the pressure to get married is growing from all sides," complains 32-year-old Günes Akcay, deputy spokeswoman for the Future Party of the Greens and Left in Izmir (see Senada Sokollu / quantara.de).
From the age of 30, women are told again and again that they should finally have a child and get married, according to Akcay. "That's what your mother, your neighbour and your work colleagues tell you. Even your boss comments on your private life." In Turkey you don't feel like an individual, just like a wife and mother. "Erdoğan in particular constantly talks about women's lives. He speaks out against abortion and caesarean section. We constantly take to the streets against this type of government policy," said Akcay (see Senada Sokollu / quantara.de).
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