(Turkey’s Entrenched Patriarchy or Retrenched Feminism?)
With the Popes visit to Turkey it would be a fiting time for me to talk of Turkey as the crossroads to various civilisations, the land that bridges West with the East, and of course the six hundred plus years of Ottoman rule.
So what! I hear you say, well, during the last five thousand plus years, the Turks were ruled with an iron hand both by conquerors and Sultanâ€™s.
Men were ruling the land, men were making the crucial decisions and men were *censor*igning their successors to rule the land.
Patriarchy is well entrenched in this country and any moves by the feminists to get concessions for the women in Turkey, is a real struggle. The extremely vocal and active womenâ€™s groups are being frustrated by the overwhelming number of men in both houses of the parliament, who are
somewhat suspicious for the motives behind the upsurge of numerous demands made by the womenâ€™s groups. The feminists are demanding, among other things, positive discrimination in favor of women, and draconian measures for tackling supposed rampant domestic violence.
This is not to say that they (the feminists) are completely unsuccessful in their demands. The family law legislation has been recently amended on various issues such as:
-The Property shall be split-up after the marriage break-up.
Whatever the couple got during their matrimonial life is to be divided on a 50/50 basis, with whatever property the couple had prior to their marriage is theirs to keep,
-De-facto couples to have the same rights as married couples.
This amendment was contentious as the Islamic Oriented Ruling Party (AKP) was sensitive about this living together without being married, despite the growing population in favor of such arrangement.
-Domestic violence intervention to be made compulsory by the police.
In the past when a woman complained to the police about her husband slapping her face, the police used to say, â€œ Woman, donâ€™t bother us with your domestic problems, go and sort things out with your husband!â€ This amendment states that, â€œAfter a police intervention, even if the spouse retracts her complain, it will be mandatory for the police to pursue the matter in court on behalf of the state.â€
-Denial of financial commitment to the spouse to be made a crime.
Should the husband for any reason deny financial contributions to the wife his wage will be garnished with double the sum to be paid directly to the wife.
These amendments, though severe, are more or less cosmetic as the country is striving to join the EU, who warned the country to observe and improve the equality among the sexes.
It is a well known fact that in Turkey, writing new laws is one thing while implimenting them is a whole other matter. Many such demands by the EU to improve and to conform by EU standards, made the politicians quite busy as they rushed to bring new laws and amend others, to comply with EU demands.
However, implementing these new laws are proving harder than previously thought, as law and order in battling the constant PKK terrorist organisation continual harassment and killings of soldiers and citizens is leaving the police and other law enforcement authorities little time to do anything else.
It is because of this situation that, cosmetic amendments and new laws are not proving to be popular among the womenâ€™s groups.
Several national TV channels are now screening numerous womenâ€™s programs, not because of feeling sympathy for the women, but rather their continuous quest to boost ratings. Some of these programs were controversial to say the least, as many women who showed-up to complain
about their treatment in the hands of their spouses, were later gunned-down by their spouse or family. Family members were enraged that their dirty linen was to be exposed to a potential audience of 70 millions viewers.
Consequently authorities decided to shut-down some of these programs, much to the dismay of the feminists who bitterly complained, to no avail.
However, they have not given-up and through the their global networking with their â€œsistersâ€ in the west, they have emulated various well known tactics, such as, â€œReclaim the night marchesâ€, pushing the â€œWomen are victims syndrome” and â€œDomestic violence is a male thingâ€ agenda, and constantly putting pressure on the state to build more â€œrefugesâ€ for battered women, etc, etc.
Progress is slow, as the well entrenched patriarchy is alive, well and kicking. Despite this fact, people are not relaxing as they know that sooner or later the feminists will eventually gain a firmer foothold in the country.
As the Pope tries to make the right diplomatic steps with Moslem countries and the feminists in the reformed churches (as they decrease their flocks as women rule) he would be wise to take a look at the Turks ever increasing families size and full places of worship longing of a time in Europe when this was the same.
But, as the Turks would say: GÃ¶rece iz which means â€œWill seeâ€. For the moment though, ask any Turkish patriarch about feminism and heâ€™ll say,
Patriarchy is well and truly entrenched here and we will retrench the
feminists line, in the future!
AMEN TO THAT!
Yours in arms.
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