Race, Gender, and Collective Schizophrenia in Turkey

Race, Gender, and Collective Schizophrenia in Turkey

If countries were human beings and could be put to a therapist’s chair, Turkey would probably be sent to a clinic instead of being prescribed regular sessions. Before one overcomes the shock from one absurdity, one would be showered by five more (often heavier) blows.

Deputy Prime Minister Bülent Arınç’s recent remarks that “There is no racism in Turkey” and “When we look at Europe and other countries we see how far behind us they are and we feel really sorry” sounded rather like a Saudi prince saying “There is no gender discrimination in the Kingdom” or “When we look at Europe and other countries we see how far behind us they are in gender equality and we feel sorry.”

True, in democracies individuals have a right to say whatever they want at the expense of sounding weird. But apparently there is a tendency in Turkey to abuse that right.

Why, otherwise, would the vice president of an NGO promoting women’s rights recommend that male children inherit more than their female siblings? That is precisely what Sümeyye Erdoğan, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s daughter and the vice president of the Woman and Democracy Association (KADEM), said in a recent speech.

Ms. Erdoğan rejects any link between Islam and gender inequality in most Muslim countries. But how does she justify the inequality between the two sexes when it comes to inheritance, in light of the Muslim holy book that commands that “God decrees a will for the benefit of your children; the male gets twice the share of the female”?

Simple. Ms. Erdoğan, the promoter of women’s rights, said the following:

They ask why daughters are given lower shares from a will while sons receive more. But when we look closely, we see that men are assigned the responsibility for bringing the bread home, while women are not. So naturally giving higher inheritance shares to men is normal, fair and righteous.

But what if the male and female children of the family decide not to marry and take the responsibility to earn a family’s living? What if the male child prefers to spend his money on gambling while his widow sister has to raise four children?

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