Translated from Turkish by Translators for Justice
Written by Çiçek Tahaoğlu
In the words of the government, “the world has never seen before” that sex has become such a central issue in the national political agenda. It started with abortion and now goes on with mixed-sex student houses. And who knows what else will come my way at this early age!
Nowadays, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan seems to give no respite, to the point that journalists are hardly able to carry out their jobs.
I do not refer to his interferences with the press or admonitions to journalists. It is that we can no longer keep up with hundreds of thousands of statements he makes in a single day. Giving one statement after another in rapid succession, Erdoğan sways the agenda, causing commotion.
Helplessly lagging behind in speed, we stand dumbfounded for a while.
The same goes for politicians as well. Even Bülent Arınç is confused. The more they are struggling to play down the tension following his remarks, the more provocative the Prime Minister tends to become.
The more female ministers demand men to “button up for once,” the more his voice is heard.
Just a brief look at the news sites reveals that at least five or six out of ten headlines are about ‘girls and boys.’
Obviously bored with the ‘girls and boys’ debate he himself brought about, Erdoğan reportedly asks, “How decent could it be for a young girl and boy to live together in a private property?”
Apparently, sensitive citizens are not left dumbfounded like us. They immediately internalize his words and go into action. Example: the news of A Sensitive Neighbour’s Call for Notice.
In the words of the government, “the world has never seen before” that sex has become such a central issue in the national political agenda.
It began with abortion, then carried on with the vagina monologues in the parliament, a pregnancy tracking system, the stories about what took place inside the tents at Gezi Park, the morning-after pill being made prescription-only, the statement that pregnant women should not stroll in the streets with such bellies, the ‘revealing dress’ debate that results in a TV presenter being fired from her show, the move to eliminate mixed-sex student dorms and separate lunch hours for women and men…
Now, we have the one on mixed-sex student houses. And who knows what else will come my way at this early age!
But this time I am completely confounded. I need to ask the Prime Minister some questions.
I currently share a flat with my boyfriend. Well, naturally, we make love. Do these regulations you seek to bring in apply only to university students? Or do we narrowly get out of them since we are graduates?
If they are meant for university students, are Masters and Doctoral students then exempt from the regulations?
You announced last week that outstanding debts of newly-wed students would be cancelled. So, what bothers you is not that students make love or have children. Would it also be alright if we do not get married but have three kids?
Are we now going to be asked for a marriage certificate when renting a property? Would its photocopy be acceptable, too?
Is your indifference to LGBT people going to serve to their advantage in this case? Or, are you going to acknowledge that sexual orientations other than heterosexuality exist, and inspect those people as well? (I could not get who comes out ahead here. But still, one wonders.)
You noted in a statement that you respected all religions. Would it be alright if we perform Pastafarian weddings? Or revolutionary weddings? Imam weddings?
I am not asking questions as to how you will control all these, what kind of regulations those will be or whether there is magic involved because I have no doubts that you shall find a solution to everything in your fantasy world.
The Prime Minister is concerned with the problems of university students, and doing them a kindness. So he says.
Dear Prime Minister, if you take students’ issues seriously, it will suffice to ensure that adequate student accommodation is provided. I’d advise you to increase the number of dormitories “if students experience difficulties as you cannot meet students’ housing needs in certain cities.” Do not segregate but rather bring them together.
It was hardly a trouble-free experience for students to rent a property. Now, they seem to stand no chance of doing it due to neighbours’ prying eyes, landlords’ attitudes and sensitive neighbours’ notices. Are we going to struggle to reclaim the rights that we already have whereas what we are supposed to be doing is to increase our demands for mixed-sex dorms?
Parents cry out for help. Their children are entrusted to the care of the Prime Minister. So he says.
Dear Prime Minister, are you aware of the fact that you refer to people over the age of 18? If parents are distressed, this is an issue ‘within the family,’ as you may acknowledge as well. Even when they really cry out, do not assume any responsibility. You can not be the head of each family or the father of us all.
There is intelligence information received by our security forces regarding these places. Our governors are intervening in these cases. Why does it disturb them?” the Prime Minister asks.
Dear Prime Minister, are there no problems left in the country? Do your security forces and governors have nothing else to do but to inspect student houses?
If that is the case, they had better carry out their own responsibilities regarding the Law no 6284 on “Protection of the Family and Prevention of Violence against Women.”
In the first nine months of 2013, men murdered 146 women in Turkey. Most of these women had appealed for help from governorships and security forces before getting killed.
In short, to issue regulations to prevent unmarried women and men from living together amounts to “intervention in lifestyles,” which you constantly denounce. You are as well aware of this as we are. (ÇT)