News / Europe

Anti-Cohabitation Call Sparks Political Storm in Turkey

Students march during a rally to protest against Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s recent remarks suggesting his Islamic-oriented government could segregate female and male students living in private accommodation, in Ankara, Turkey, Nov. 9, 2013.
Students march during a rally to protest against Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s recent remarks suggesting his Islamic-oriented government could segregate female and male students living in private accommodation, in Ankara, Turkey, Nov. 9, 2013.
Dorian Jones
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has provoked a political storm in Turkey over his call to crackdown on mixed sex student accommodations. The prime minister claims the move is in response to concerned parents. But the crackdown has raised questions about whether the Islamic-rooted ruling party is pursuing a religious agenda.
 
Erdogan says cohabitation is intolerable and said the government had already shut down mixed accommodations in 75 percent of state-run student dormitories.

Erdogan's critics have repeatedly accused him of intrusiveness into private life, from his advice to women on the number of children they should have to his views on abortion.

A student, who lives with her boyfriend, said she believes the move is part of a religious agenda.

"They don’t like men and women together because they are an Islamic party and these things always happen in Turkey and actually all of them are about the women and women’s body," she said. "I don’t think this issue is about men. It’s only about women and a woman's life."

Erdogan, whose AK Party has its roots in Islamist politics, denies any religious motives, claiming it’s in response to calls from concerned parents.

But throughout the prime minister’s decade-long rule, he has been dogged by accusations he is undermining the 90-year-old secular state, a charge he steadfastly has rejected.

Ayfe Bartu Candan, a sociology professor at Istanbul’s Bosphorus University, said the latest move threatens to re-open the debate over his government’s agenda.

"For secularists, their immediate response is 'well of course. This is who he really is and this was his real agenda, and now he is making public,'" Bartu said.

According to observers, this latest controversy comes just after a political consensus had been reached over the deeply divisive issue of lifting a ban on female parliamentary deputies wearing religious headscarves in parliament.

The main opposition Republican People’s Party -- the party of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, who founded the modern secular republic -- accuses the prime minister of trying to resurrect the conflict between the secular and religious ahead of an 18-month election cycle that culminates in general elections in 2015. But Erdogan insists he is following an agenda of “conservative democracy.”

Pinar Ilkkaracan, co-founder of Turkey’s Women for Women's Human Rights, said the latest move is part of a trend aimed at controlling women.

"The main pillar of their conservatism is the control of sexuality of women’s bodies and this also is now a statement of the lives of youths, especially of girls," Ilkkaracan said. "Because he literally is accusing them of being immoral. He said the word 'immoral'. This is a country where honor crimes are taking place. Where girls can be killed because of honor."

The prime minister received rare criticism from some of his own supporters.

Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc sought to play down the controversy saying it was not on the government’s agenda. But his comment  was rebuked by Mr. Edogan, who insisted it was. Some influential columnists in the country’s powerful pro Islamist media have also questioned the move.

Legal experts claim there is no existing law that could enforce a ban on mixed student cohabitation. But local media has reported that police have started to raid student homes.

In addition to introducing legislation, Erdogan is also considering calling on neighbors to report students. Sociologist Bartu Candan warns such statements will add to existing tensions in Turkish society.

"We have been hearing about landlords or neighbors complaining and threatening these students and now they will have more courage and probably, I am afraid, the legal framework to justify any intervention. And, that is the part I find most scary," Bartu said.

The European Union has expressed in statements that it's concerned,  saying governments have no right to interfere in adults living arrangements.  Despite such criticism, the Turkish prime minister shows no signs of backing down.

You May Like

WHO: Anti-Ebola Efforts Should Focus on West Africa

Official says WHO is 'reasonably confident' countries bordering those hardest hit by the Ebola outbreak are not seeing the virus crossing their borders More

South Sudan Crisis Threatens Development

Economic costs and lost development opportunities in South Sudan have erased what little progress the country has made since independence in 2011 More

Ukrainian PM Warns: Russia May Try to Disrupt Sunday Poll

Arseniy Yatsenyuk orders full security mobilization for parliamentary election to prevent ‘terrorist acts’ from being carried out More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Godwin from: Nigeria
November 11, 2013 1:17 PM
Just as well. This is a proof of the fact that islam cannot even control its own if placed side by side with other conditions. All religions have intrinsic measures and teaching to keep children of adherents follow the moral standing of the religion. But islam uses only force to teach, convert and correct. Imagine parents killing their own children in the name of blasphemy - maybe they want to swap religion.

I have written about this before, and here I repeat it, if islam is opened up to compete with other religions, its own inbuilt fallacies will knock it out. Right now it's having followers who are mainly people who do not understand but must follow, because even to ask question exposes one to danger of being branded infidel, enemy of god, or accused of blasphemy. Seeing the trouble the religion faces in competition with other religions, secularism and dissent, why not, the Ottoman emperor will do something to retain the status quo. In Nigeria it has given rise to boko haram insurgency - a secret terrorist group raised in the religion to force others despoiling the religion out of its neighborhood. But it cannot stem the drift of the population. No one forces anyone into heaven. If anyone will go to heaven - as the religion pretends to teach - then the person will merit it not by force of the government or parents.

Unless Erdogan is trying to preserve the seven virgins he will marry in heaven when he kills some infidel. I laugh at the madness. What will a spirit be doing with marriage in eternity? The essence of marriage is for continuity of life on earth. What is the necessity for marriage in heaven? One of those fallacies that show how vague the religion is. And Erdogan will struggle to keep his seven virgins from here, having eye-marked them for the D-day. Sorry Mr. Erdogan, they have rejected you. They may become old before the time. But the audacity of hope is 'The Beuatiful Ones Are Yet Unborn! Take solace in that. In heaven, A.... will find you different new virgins. So don't fret about these ones, they are not for you. After all you're not about to check out.., or are you? However, by this action

Mr. Erdogan may need to be tried to find out many people he has killed as infidels in keeping with the tenets of the religion for which he already demanding his virgins in heaven right from here. He may need to transit to heaven from a prison at the Hague for violation of human rights - if he's found guilty of killing as PM or Turkey, that is crime against humanity, genocide or ethnic cleansing. One of these laws will hold him, after all he hates infidels - who may be non-adherents of his religion.

In Response

by: Anonymous
November 11, 2013 10:42 PM
Great observations. I was under the impression that they were 72 virgins not only 7?

I would not kill myself for just 7, LOL

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rulesi
X
October 21, 2014 12:20 AM
European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.
Video

Video Young Nairobi Tech Innovator on 'Track' in Security Business

A 24-year-old technology innovator in Nairobi has invented a tracking device that monitors and secures cars. He has also come up with what he claims is the most robust audio-visual surveillance system yet. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from the Kenyan capital, his innovations are offering alternative security solutions.
Video

Video Latinas Converting to Islam for Identity, Structure

Latinos are one of the fastest growing groups in the Muslim religion. According to the Pew Research Center, about 6 percent of American Muslims are Latino. And a little more than half of new converts are female. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti travelled to Miami, Florida -- where two out of every three residents is Hispanic -- to learn more.
Video

Video Exclusive: American Joins Kurds' Anti-IS Fight

The United States and other Western nations have expressed alarm about their citizens joining Islamic State forces in Syria and Iraq. In a rare counterpoint to the phenomenon, an American has taken up arms with the militants' Syrian Kurdish opponents. Elizabeth Arrott has more in this exclusive profile by VOA Kurdish reporter Zana Omer in Ras al Ayn, Syria.
Video

Video South Korea Confronts Violence Within Military Ranks

Every able-bodied South Korean male between 18 and 35 must serve for 21 to 36 months in the country’s armed forces, depending upon the specific branch. For many, service is a rite of passage to manhood. But there are growing concerns that bullying and violence come along with the tradition. Reporter Jason Strother has more from Seoul.
Video

Video North Carolina Emerges as Key Election Battleground

U.S. congressional midterm elections will be held on November 4th and most political analysts give Republicans an excellent chance to win a majority in the U.S. Senate, which Democrats now control. So what are the issues driving voters in this congressional election year? VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone traveled to North Carolina, one of the most politically competitive states in the country, to find out.
Video

Video Comanche People Maintain Pride in Their Heritage

The Comanche (Indian nation) once were called the “Lords of the Plains,” with an empire that included half the land area of current day Texas, large parts of Oklahoma, New Mexico, Kansas and Colorado.The fierceness and battle prowess of these warriors on horseback delayed the settlement of most of West Texas for four decades. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Lawton, Oklahoma, that while their warrior days are over, the 15,000 members of the Comanche Nation remain a proud people.
Video

Video Turkey Campus Attacks Raise Islamic Radicalization Fears

Concerns are growing in Turkey of Islamic radicalization at some universities, after clashes between supporters of the jihadist group Islamic State (IS) or ISIS, and those opposed to the extremists. Pro-jihadist literature is on sale openly on the streets of Istanbul. Critics accuse the government of turning a blind eye to radicalism at home, while Kurds accuse the president of supporting IS - a charge strongly denied. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

All About America

AppleAndroid