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.”

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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.

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