News / Europe

Co-ed Housing Becomes Turkish PM's Latest Bugbear

Turkey's Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan at news conference after meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Istanbul, Oct. 29, 2013.
Turkey's Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan at news conference after meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Istanbul, Oct. 29, 2013.
Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan suggested on Tuesday new regulations could be drawn up to stop male and female students living together, triggering accusations of religiously inspired interference in private life.
Erdogan said the government had already shut down mixed accommodation in 75 percent of state-run student dormitories and would continue to do so, adding he could also authorize local governors to intervene if there were complaints about male and female students sharing private accommodation.
“How come a girl and a boy can stay together in a private property? Can you tolerate such a thing for your daughter or your son,” Erdogan asked at a news conference, before leaving on an official visit to Finland.
“As a conservative democratic government ... if a legal regulation is needed, we will make the relevant regulations.”
Critics of Erdogan, whose roots are in Islamist politics, have frequently accused him of puritanical intrusiveness into private life, from his advice to women on the number of children they should have to his views on abortion.
In power for more than a decade, his AK Party has increased its share of the vote in each of the past three elections, ushered in unprecedented political stability and overseen some of the fastest economic growth in Europe.
But it was shaken by the fiercest anti-government protests in decades over the summer, in which demonstrators took to the streets night after night in a show of defiance at what they see as his creeping authoritarianism.
Erdogan's views on mixed student accommodation started appearing in Turkish newspapers after leaking out of a closed-door meeting of the AK Party over the weekend. His aides had sought to play down the issue, saying he was referring only to student dormitories that were not properly registered.
The head of the opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) — the party of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, who founded the modern secular republic on the ruins of an Ottoman theocracy in 1923 — accused Erdogan of pursuing an Islamist agenda.
“They have a plan in the back of their minds ... they want to turn Turkey into a Middle Eastern country,” Kemal Kilicdaroglu told a CHP parliamentary meeting in Ankara.
“All our citizens, especially our women, should be aware.”

You May Like

Afghanistan, Pakistan Leaders to Hold Icebreaking Talks in Paris

Two sides are expected to discuss ways to ease bilateral tensions and jointly work for resumption of stalled peace talks between Afghan government and Taliban officials

Corruption Busting Is Her Game

South African activist is building 'international online community of thousands of corruption fighters'

Former SAF Businessman Gives Books, Love of Reading to Students

Steve Tsakaris now involved in nonprofit Read to Rise, which distributes books in Soweto, encourages lower-grade primary school students to read

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
by: Ferdi from: Turkey
November 06, 2013 3:26 AM
Erdoğan's government is becoming authoritarian everyday. They do not respect to life style of others who are not religious like them. Erdoğan not only points out dormitories that under government control but also private properties. In his mindset man and woman must not share anything common! He tries to teach us how we should raise our children, when they should get married and how many children they should have in the future! Does that sound democratic or modern to you? He is always talking about democracy but in real, he and his government does not care what other people think. He himself said that "democracy is a train and we will leave that train when the right time has come for us".

by: Anonymous
November 05, 2013 9:49 PM
I understand Turky is rarely one of the countries of separation of government and religion in the Islamic world. It has been made efforts to westernize the country taking secularism since its revolution in 1923. Erdogan also handles politics in the same way as to be able to join EU and co-ed is familiar in Turky. But 99 percent of the national is Islamist prefering single-ed. So is the decision of this time to shut down mixed accommodation a kind of government's compromose to popular pubric will? Does the title of this story, bugbear, reflect on this compromise?
In Response

by: Yoshi from: Sapporo
November 06, 2013 7:41 PM
Ferdi, thank you for your comment. So, you mean major part of Turkish people are Muslimst and secularist prefering no regulation of individual life style? Edrogan and his government are Puritan and they want to make people follow some chiristianity faiths against the principle of separation of government and religion?

It is still ambiguous for me which is secularist, Islamists or puritans in Turky, because usually Islamists are believed to be conservative and strict to follow Islamic teachings and rituals, I think. Can Muslims drink alcohol in Turky?
In Response

by: Ferdi from: Turkey
November 06, 2013 3:48 AM
Do you really think that Erdoğan handles politics in the same way Atatürk did years ago? My friend the truth is that Erdoğan and his whole government hates Atatürk so much. Because Atatürk built modern country. Months ago Erdoğan called Atatürk as drunkard to insult him in public. Please first study your lesson before writing something like this.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Belgium-Germany Border Remains Porous, Even As Manhunt For Paris Attacker Continuesi
Ayesha Tanzeem
November 25, 2015 10:46 PM
One of the suspected gunmen in the Nov. 13 Paris attacks, Salah Abdeslam, evaded law enforcement, made his way to Belgium, and is now believed to have fled to Germany. VOA correspondent Ayesha Tanzeem makes the journey across the border from Belgium into Germany to see how porous the borders really are.

Video Belgium-Germany Border Remains Porous, Even As Manhunt For Paris Attacker Continues

One of the suspected gunmen in the Nov. 13 Paris attacks, Salah Abdeslam, evaded law enforcement, made his way to Belgium, and is now believed to have fled to Germany. VOA correspondent Ayesha Tanzeem makes the journey across the border from Belgium into Germany to see how porous the borders really are.

Video Islamic State Unfazed by Losses in Iraq, Syria

Progress in the U.S.-led effort to beat Islamic State on its home turf in Iraq and Syria has led some to speculate the terror group may be growing desperate. But counterterror officials say that is not the case, and warn the recent spate of terror attacks is merely part of the group’s evolution. VOA National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more.

Video Taiwan Looks for Role in South China Sea Dispute

The Taiwanese government is one of several that claims territory in the hotly contested South China Sea, but Taipei has long been sidelined in the dispute, overshadowed by China. Now, as the Philippines challenges Beijing’s claims in an international court at The Hague, Taipei is looking to publicly assert its claims. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.

Video Syrian Refugees in US Express Concern for Those Left Behind

Syrian immigrants in the United States are concerned about the negative tide of public opinion and the politicians who want to block a U.S. plan to accept 10,000 Syrian refugees. Zlatica Hoke reports many Americans are fighting to dispel suspicions linking refugees to terrorists.

Video After Paris Attacks, France Steps Up Fight Against IS

The November 13 Paris attacks have drawn increased attention to Syria, where many of the suspected perpetrators are said to have received training. French President Francois Hollande is working to build a broad international coalition to defeat Islamic State in Syria and in Iraq. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video US, Cambodian Navies Pair Up in Gulf of Thailand

The U.S. Navy has deployed one of its newest and most advanced ships to Cambodia to conduct joint training drills in the Gulf of Thailand. Riding hull-to-hull with Cambodian ships, the seamen of the USS Fort Worth are executing joint-training drills that will help build relations in Southeast Asia. David Boyle reports for VOA from Preah Sihanouk province.

Video Americans Sharpen Focus on Terrorism

Washington will be quieter than usual this week due to the Thanksgiving holiday, even as Americans across the nation register heightened concerns over possible terrorist threats. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports new polling data from ABC News and the Washington Post newspaper show an electorate increasingly focused on security issues after the deadly Islamic State attacks in Paris.

Video World Leaders Head to Paris for Climate Deal

Heads of state from nearly 80 countries are heading to Paris (November 30-December 11) to craft a global climate change agreement. The new accord will replace the Kyoto Protocol on Climate Change that expired in 2012.

Video Uncertain Future for Syrian Refugee Resettlement in Illinois

For the trickle of Syrian refugees finding new homes in the Midwest city of Chicago, the call to end resettlement in many U.S. states is adding another dimension to their long journey fleeing war. Organizations working to help them integrate say the backlash since the Paris attacks is both harming and helping their efforts to provide refugees sanctuary. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

Video Creating Physical Virtual Reality With Tiny Drones

As many computer gamers know, virtual reality is a three-dimensional picture, projected inside special googles. It can fool your brain into thinking the computer world is the real world. But If you try to touch it, it’s not there. Now Canadian researchers say it may be possible to create a physical virtual reality using tiny drones. VOA’s George Putic reports.

Video New American Indian Village Takes Visitors Back in Time

There is precious little opportunity to experience what life was like in the United States before its colonization by European settlers. Now, an American Indian village built in a park outside Washington is taking visitors back in time to experience the way of life of America's indigenous people. Carol Pearson narrates this report from VOA's June Soh.

Video Even With Hometown Liberated, Yazidi Refugees Fear Return

While the northern Iraqi town of Sinjar has been liberated from Islamic State forces, it's not clear whether Yazidi residents who fled the militants will now return home. VOA’s Mahmut Bozarslan talked with Yazidis, a religious and ethnic minority, at a Turkish refugee camp in Diyarbakır. Robert Raffaele narrates his report.

Video Nairobi Tailors Make Pope Francis’ Vestments

To ensure the pope is properly attired during his visit, the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops asked the Dolly Craft Sewing Project in the Nairobi slum of Kangemi to make the pope's vestments, the garments he will wear during the various ceremonies. Jill Craig reports.

Video Cross-Border Terrorism Puts Europe’s Passport-Free Travel in Doubt

The fallout from the Islamic State terror attacks in Paris has put the future of Europe’s passport-free travel area, known as the "Schengen Zone," in doubt. Several of the perpetrators were known to intelligence agencies, but were not intercepted. Henry Ridgwell reports from London European ministers are to hold an emergency meeting Friday in Brussels to look at ways of improving security.

Video El Niño Brings Unexpected Fish From Mexico to California

Fish in an unexpected spectrum of sizes, shapes and colors are moving north, through El Niño's warm currents from Mexican waters to the Pacific Ocean off California’s coast. El Nino is the periodic warming of the eastern and central Pacific Ocean. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, this phenomenon thrills scientists and gives anglers the chance of a once-in-a-lifetime big catch. Faith Lapidus narrates.

Video Terrorism in Many Forms Continues to Plague Africa

While the world's attention is on Paris in the wake of Friday night's deadly attacks, terrorism from various sides remains a looming threat in many African countries. Nigerian cities have been targeted this week by attacks many believe were staged by the violent Islamist group Boko Haram. In addition, residents in many regions are forced to flee their homes as they are terrorized by armed militias. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video Study: Underage Marriage Rate Higher for Females in Pakistan

While attitudes about the societal role of females in Pakistan are evolving, research by child advocacy group Plan International suggests that underage marriage of girls remains a particularly big issue in the country. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports how such marriages leads to further social problems.

VOA Blogs