Tensions in Turkey after Women's Day crackdown

In Istanbul the police in Istanbul put a stop to a peaceful demonstration on International Women's Day with tear gas. President Erdoğan has answered criticism with the counter-accusation that the marchers tried to drown out the call to prayer with calls and whistles. Will the debate further divide the country?

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Sabah (TR) /

Self-styled sluts lack respect

Columnist Hilâl Kaplan explains in the pro-government daily Sabah why she supports the president's view:

“With their demand for sexual freedom, feminists of the second generation in particular champion the idea that the values which herd women in the direction of heterosexuality and monogamy are products of patriarchy, and that the more sex women have, the freer they are. ... For that reason these women - who go as far as calling themselves 'sluts' - are not insulting feminism at all with their actions. Rather they embody the positions for which it stands. ... Some people are surprised that the women who uphold these views have behaved disrespectfully during the call to prayer and have even tried to drown it out with whistles. But the real surprise would be if they were to show respect for it.”

Artı Gerçek (TR) /

The whole country stands to lose out

The government should avoid trying to divide society any more than it already is, Artı Gerçek warns:

“The AKP assumes that the conservative part of society is at loggerheads with the secular-democratic part. ... If it's trying to stop women from marching or to prevent their voices from being heard, it doesn't stand a chance. If it's plan is to pit women's call for freedom against religious sensitivities, it will also fail. Using the muezzin's prayer call or the flag to spread lies won't help anyone. On the contrary: Turkey will lose too much with this policy of polarisation.”