Wednesday, 3 October 2007

'Moderate' Islamism poses threat to women's rights in Turkey

There are signs that Turkey's 'moderate' Islamist government may not be as benign as some western liberals had predicted, and that Turkish secularists were right to be concerned. A new draft constitution has become the focus of feminist protest in the country:

More than 80 women's groups have come together to voice strong opposition to the draft constitution, calling it a major step backwards for equal rights.

The current constitution in Turkey obliges the government to ensure equality for all - a clause that women's groups fought hard to include.

The new draft removes that, describing women instead as a vulnerable group in need of special protection.

Can Turkish secularists and feminists now expect the support of western 'liberals' like Jonathan Steele, who previously dismissed their concerns as middle-class and elitist?

But this, even if it's done for reasons of political expediency, is more encouraging.

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