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In The News

FEMEN in Turkey

GüntülüWhether you agree with their tactics, the femenist-anti patriarchal activists from the Ukraine are making headlines again. The outlandish activist group named FEMEN has opened a branch of their movement in Turkey and announced the news via its social media accounts accompanied by a photograph of a woman with a Turkish flag painted on her bare breasts. This was used to announce a campaign for Turkish women to join with a Turkish female named Güntülü to fight for the preservation of democracy in Turkey. The girl went topless to protest against the removal of hundreds of trees for a road construction project passing through the campus of the Ankara Middle East Technical University (ODTÜ). Prior to this FEMEN had held several protests in Turkey and had said earlier that its Turkey office would be opened.



The Ukrainian activists from FEMEN were taken into custody back on March of 2012, as they began to stage one of their topless demonstrations in Istanbul. The activists with fake injuries held placards as they protested against domestic violence in front of the Hagia Sofia in Istanbul during the festivities of International Women's Day. The protest ended after police arrested the three activists. FEMEN is a Ukrainian feminist protest group founded in 2008 by activist Alexandra Shevchenko and is based in Kiev. The organization became internationally known for organizing topless protests against sex tourism, international marriage agencies, sexism and other social ills internationally. Turkey has long been in their sights due to the large numbers of girls from the Ukraine that were lured into prostitution deceptively after the break up of the former Soviet Union.

Young Turkish Artists Model Answers the Call



Didem DinçA young Turkish female has answered the call from Turkish FEMEN office for activism by posting an image of herself with a Turkish flag painted on her bare breasts on Twitter. The woman, named Didem Dinç, was seen in a crowded street with the Turkish flag, as well as the words “Savaşa Hayır” (English: No War) painted in black on her abdomen.

She said she was a nude art model that was now ready to take her clothes off and support FEMEN.

“I have taken my clothing off for art for the last seven years. I have participated in hundreds of exhibitions. And I don’t take offence at getting naked for the new FEMEN movement in Turkey,” said Dinç on her Twitter page.

Dinç told the Daily Hürriyet newspaper that she posed for the picture on the crowded Kadife Sokak, a street in a busy entertainement area in Istanbul’s Kadıköy district that is known for its many bars. She acknowledged that people on the street encouraged her by cheering and applauding.

“Of course, my goal was not only to take off my clothes. The goal is not only peace in Turkish society, but in the whole world,” she said.

Dinç also said that she always wanted to participate in a FEMEN protest.

“Now that the group has come to Turkey - I participated with huge pride,” she said.

She added that the group had messaged her saying they would back her when she faces any problems.

“They asked me for permission to publish the picture and praised my courage,” Dinç said.

Following Dinç’s picture, FEMEN encouraged more activists to join their Turkey office:

“Join Didem - Fight for democracy in your country!”

Another Turkish Girl Stands Up in Ankara



Turkish FEMENYesterday FEMEN released pictures of the Turkish activist who had added her support to activists protesting against the removal of hundreds of trees to make way for a controversial road passing through the campus of Ankara’s Middle East Technical University (ODTÜ), another of Prime Minister Erdogan's controversial projects.

Wherever they take their bare-breasted protests against sexism and patriarchal oppression, the women of Femen cause lots of controversy. Back in April they put out a call in European cities for a 'Topless Jihad' as a sign of support for Tunisian female Amina Tyler, who posted a topless picture of herself online with the words 'My body belongs to me' written across her chest. When ultra-conservative clerics called for her to be put to death by stoning, Femen sprung into action to protest on Tyler's behalf. They turned out in front of Berlin's oldest mosque, for example, and in Paris in front of the Tunisian Embassy in Paris. The women had written slogans on their bodies, like 'Free Amina,' as well as others with more outlandish expletives. Over the weekend, Tyler made a statement on French television that she was happy about their show of solidarity, but when Femen burned a flag with the Muslim profession of faith on it in front of a mosque in Paris, Tyler said they went too far.

"They didn't just insult some fundamentalist Muslims, but all Muslims," she said.



Turkish German Author Disagrees With FEMEN



Hilal SezginHilal Sezgin, born in 1970 in Frankfurt is a Turkish German author and journalist who writes about women's issues and Islam for German publications. She is the daughter of the Islamic scholars Ursula and Fuat Sezgin. Sezgin studied philosophy with a focus on moral philosophy and political theory, and sociology and German. She is critical of Femen's actions and says:

"I'm amazed that this form of brutal and crude feminism can even exist in 2013. When I was an active feminist in the early 1990s, FEMEN was against prostitution. Even then, we were asking ourselves how we could do that without being domineering or patronizing to women."

Sezgin says that modern feminism concretely addresses problems facing women and that Femen's take on feminism is antiquated:

"We've long known that feminism is a kind of solidarity with women, among women and for women," the author stated, adding that this solidarity means finding out what is important to the women which feminists are meant to be connecting with.

"That is exactly what the Femen women are not doing. They are using classic Islamophobic clichés: the suppressed women in a veil being supposedly counteracted by Western nakedness."

Femen Founder Alexandra Shevchenko



Alexandra Shevchenko FEMENFemen defends their actions and wants to retain their form of protest. Oppression is oppression, Femen activist Alexandra Shevchenko has stated and believes that it must be combated everywhere in the same way.

"We understand that many Muslims see us as people who want to dictate to them how they should live," she said but claims the group isn't like that and doesn't want to be seen that way.

"We're looking for Muslim women who are saying - yes, we are like them. Yes, we feel the same compulsion they do. We support your fight the way you are fighting it." says Shevchenko, adding that they would like to work together with feminists in Muslim countries. She feels that Muslim women are deeply anchored in their family and environment, and when a person is born in a country or a community that is shaped by certain ideologies, then it can be hard for that person to choose their own path.






Prime Minister Erdoğan Fighting Fires



Recep Tayyip ErdoğanNot only is FEMEN a thorn in the side of Prime Minister Erdoğan, but protests nationwide have been highly critical of his policies. Like the Ankara roadworks project, his extremely expensive underwater train connecting Asia and Europe faced operational problems on it's launch and now US Senator John McCain has stated that Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is acting like a dictator rather than a president in the eyes of a majority of Turks. Speaking at the Brookings Institute, Senator McCain said there are more journalists jailed in Turkey than any other country in the world. And there were the recent disclosures about Erdoğan naming names to Iran that went over like a lead balloon with NATO countries and his announcement of a missile defense system contract with China. All of this just when EU membership talks were about to resume. What may have seemed a bright future for Erdoğan is increasingly becoming rather cloudy and dismal for both him and the AKP party.



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