Turkey: A country of emotion, contrasts and protests

Turkish Men's Protest- Photo Credit Aqua Mars (Flickr)
Turkish Men's Protest- Photo Credit Aqua Mars (Flickr)

Everything began on a sunny summer day. A few young people sat down near the trees in Istanbul and yelled “We do not want to give our green park for a shopping mall!‘ The big protests have begun with just this innocent behaviour. This was the milestone for a community. Turkey is on the streets for protesting every single issue now. Turkish people are more emotional and sensitive than ever. They are on the streets with their creative protest style again. The subject is Ozgecan Aslan this time. Who is she? What does she represent? Why are thousands  protesting? 

Ozgecan Aslan Photo Credit Jenerik Medya (Flickr)
Ozgecan Aslan Photo Credit Jenerik Medya (Flickr)

Turkish people woke up to hear terrible news on Valentine’s Day. A university student took a bus to go home and this bus became her coffin. The bus driver raped and killed Ozgecan Aslan. The bus driver, his father and a friend burnt her body before throwing into the woodland.

5,000 women went her funeral. They carried her coffin and protested against the violence. This kind of funeral ceremony isn’t a common thing in muslim religion. According to the Islam, men carry the coffin and pray in the front side for the deceased. This significant behaviour was the silent scream of riot.

Coffin - photo Credit Magazin Ekstra (Flickr)
Coffin – photo Credit Magazin Ekstra (Flickr)

“We were killed! Please don’t forget us!” as Ugur Mumcu (Turkish columnist who was killed with a bomb in 1993) said before, this community has been injured deeply. Assassinations ofjournalists, honour killings, rape and abuse issues, arrogant politicians, sect fights, terror… created an emotionally sick community. Everybody is suffering from anger. People have no energy for trying to understand each other. The community has begun to be enemy to every opposite idea. This is the 21st century Turkish dictatorship. Turkey is like a Muslim woman with a headscarf. If you see a woman with a short skirt, tight clothes and a headscarf, you could be forgiven for thinking she is pretending to be religious. In the same way,Turkey’s government is pretending to be democratic. Turkey is a republic in name, but a dictatorship in reality. Turks live in a chaotic environment and wake to bad news every day. The community’s mental health is suffering.


Turkish women have begun to write about their abuse stories on Twitter. It means `Tell your story too’. Some people evaluate this as a shame but some people believe it is necessary for resisting the current situation. Discussions are continuing still. Conservative women writers explain abuse and rape as a normal thing, whereas the modern part of the country is getting more angry day by day. Politics and religion cover every significant discussion. Ozgecan was a unlucky young student. However, her death has become to be the symbol of resistance.


Turkish people come from  of more than 500 years tradition. Normally, the community has its own order and it makes them a half European, half Eastern community. This was the reality of Turkey before  the AKP government. Nowadays, There are conservative discussions on TV programmes. The ironic part is that religious women are talking about abuse and rape as like they have never been a woman before. The most interesting subject is how a woman can turn somebody on. Which part of her body should she close? Alparslan Kuytul who is the founder of Furkan Foundation said that “A men can be aroused, if the woman wear a skirt over the knees even if she is his mother”.

Alparslan Kuytul - Photo Credit My Birer (Flicker)
Alparslan Kuytul – Photo Credit My Birer (Flicker)

These discussions make the educated community very agressive. Social media is full of anger. Modern Turkish people are so shameful about this fake and extreme religious behaviour.

Mustafa Kemal Atatürk is the founder of the Turkish Republic. He rescued Turkey after the Ottoman Empire collapsed. He is the father of the Turks. Nowadays, There is a trend about hating him.

“I do not like this Atatürk”.


Esra Elönü - Photo Credit Gazete Vatan
Esra Elönü – Photo Credit Gazete Vatan

 What is religion in Turkey?

Turkey’s 99% of the population are Muslim. However, Turkey has a different situation from other Muslim countries. Turkey was established by Mustafa Kemal Atatürk in 29th October 1923 as a republic and he changed the country’s face. Headscarfs were banned. Enfranchisement of woman allowed. The Arabic alphabet was changed looking towards Europe. Atatürk was the face of new Turkey and he was so elegant and modern.


Atatürk and Woman- Photo Credit Bilgin Özkaynak (Flickr)
Atatürk and Woman- Photo Credit Bilgin Özkaynak (Flickr)

The AKP government wants to turn back to the Ottoman Empire times. Country divided 50% by 50%. Religious differences bring sexual deviances, anger, fight.

According the BBC, “The ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) has its roots in political Islam and has been in power since 2002.Women’s rights organisations say violence against women has risen sharply in the last decade.Last year alone, almost 300 women were killed at the hands of men and more than 100 were raped, according to local reports.”

Turkey is the country of contrasts

This is the country of contrasts. Turkish men wore skirt in protest against violence towards women on 22nd February.

Turkish Men's Protest- Photo Credit Aqua Mars (Flickr)
Turkish Men’s Protest- Photo Credit Aqua Mars (Flickr)

“We demand, as democratic and intellectual men of this country, freedom for women, free expression, opportunities for women, and equal rights for women as for men.” BBC


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