Activists in Ankara hold massive kissing protest

Demonstration held in response to public announcement at subway station requesting passengers to behave morally.

By
May 27, 2013 02:22
2 minute read.
Couple

Couple kissing 370. (photo credit: Reuters)

 
X

Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analyses from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user experience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Report and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew - Ivrit
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief

UPGRADE YOUR JPOST EXPERIENCE FOR 5$ PER MONTH Show me later Don't show it again

Two hundred Turks held a mass kissing protest at Ankara’s Kurtulus subway station on Saturday as opposition protesters tried to intervene, according to a report in the Turkish Hurriyet Daily News.

There was a heavy police presence that tried to block protesters from entering the station. The demonstration was called in response to a public announcement at the station – requesting passengers to behave morally, targeting young couples that were “acting inappropriately.” A conservative religious group shouted religious slogans and the police worked to prevent clashes between the groups, according to the report.

Be the first to know - Join our Facebook page.


Mustafa Akyol, a Turkish columnist for Hurriyet and the author of the book, Islam without Extremes: A Muslim Case for Liberty, told The Jerusalem Post that the AKP dominated government is “pursuing a policy of moral conservatism,” but “it would be far-fetched, at this point, to say that this is tantamount to ‘Islamization,’ let alone the imposition of Islamic law."

Rather, it is more similar to Christian moral conservatism in the US “which has similar takes on abortion, education and public intoxication,” he said adding, “nobody argues that women should be forced to wear a veil or that adulterers should be stoned,” thus contrasting Turkey with stricter Islamic societies such as Saudi Arabia or Pakistan.

Michael Rubin, a scholar at the American Enterprise Institute and a former Pentagon official, who is currently traveling in Turkey, said that political Islam has little respect for individual liberty, imposing “its religious dictates on the wider society, whether or not they ascribe to its beliefs.”

Hence, Rubin finds the comparison to evangelicals by Akyol to be inaccurate because in Western democracies there is a separation of powers and constitutionalism, an institution that has been declining in Turkey over the last decade “under the guise of reform.”

He went on to add that in 2005, Bulent Arinc, then Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s deputy, warned judges against vetoing the prime minister’s legislation as unconstitutional. The AKP, Erdogan’s party, he said, had a super-majority, which could simply dissolve the constitutional court.



This follows other instances of Islamization in Turkey such as the report on Friday that Turkey banned advertising alcohol and tightened restrictions on its sale. Perhaps reflecting this trend, an Israeli cruise to the country was canceled for security reasons, according to a report in Hurriyet on Saturday.

Rubin says the context of what is happening in the country is important. The AKP government has brought a dramatic decline in freedom of the press and drastically changed the education system by making it more Islamic. For example, the minority Alevis attend mandatory Koran classes taught by Sunnis.

“According to Turkey’s own judiciary, the murder rate of women has increased 1,400 percent between 2002 and 2009. Increased reporting does not really explain that jump; rather, the feeling among Erdogan’s Islamist constituency that they can act with impunity upon their own religious mores does,” said Rubin.

On the foreign policy front, Turkey has supported the al-Qaida linked al-Nusra Front, denying that jihadism has anything to do with terrorism, Rubin said.

“Turkey does not have a drinking problem; Erdogan has a problem with drinking,” said Rubin. “Erdogan has a tolerance problem and a tendency to believe not only that he knows best, but that there should be no impediment to imposing his will on the public.”

Related Content

August 14, 2018
BDS claims victory in Tunisia, forcing ‘Israel-linked ship’ from port

By SETH J. FRANTZMAN