Women shouldn't laugh in public, says Turkey's deputy PM

Jul 30, 2014

Politician prompts online outcry with speech denouncing moral decay in Turkey


The Turkish deputy prime minister has suggested that women should not laugh out loud in public in order to preserve their modesty, says the Independent.

While speaking at an Eid al-Fitr gathering on Monday, Bülent Arinc claimed that the media were transforming teens into "sex addicts" and called for a return to Koranic traditions for women.

The modest woman "will know what is haram and not haram", Arinc said. "She will not laugh in public. She will not be inviting in her attitudes and will protect her chasteness.

"Where are our girls, who slightly blush, lower their heads and turn their eyes away when we look at their face, becoming the symbol of chastity?"

While Arnic also said that the Turkish man should be "bound to his wife" and should "love his children", the majority of his comments seemed to be addressed to women.

He decried mobile phone conversations between women in public, according to the Daily Telegraph, and criticised female recipe swapping and gossip "on the mobile phone". He suggested instead that they talk "face to face".

The remarks caused hundreds to take to Twitter in outrage. Some Turkish women posted photos of themselves laughing in protest at the statements.

The remarks could also have an impact on Turkey's upcoming elections, says The Guardian. The deputy prime minister is a co-founder of the ruling Justice and Development party (AKP), which has been "accused by critics of seeking to erode Turkey's strict separation of religion and state".

Arnic has not responded to the criticism, but rival politician Ekmeleddin İhsanoğlu, a former head of the Organisation of Islamic Co-operation, wrote a message in support of protesters on Twitter.

"Our country needs women's and everyone's laughter more than anything," translates the Daily Telegraph.

Sign up for our daily newsletter