Turks gone wild!

Women protest an exhibitionism conviction by showing some skin.

Published July 7, 2008 8:19PM (EDT)

On Saturday, about 70 Turkish women slipped into sundresses, spaghetti strap tops and shorts, and marched in Istanbul chanting, "It's not exhibitionism, it's male abuse!" They took to the Galata Bridge, the scene of a severe crime committed last summer. Brace yourselves: A woman went fishing while wearing a lightweight dress.

Some fishermen reported the offense; the woman was found guilty of exhibitionism and was given a five-month suspended prison sentence. (For comparison, men who groped a woman at a public New Year's Eve celebration were fined $45.) Last week, a judge upheld the ruling, sparking outrage among secularists. "They think women should stay home and dress properly," protester Cigdem Mater told the BBC. "The question is what is proper? No-one has the right to tell us what to wear, that is the point."

In related news, today's Independent looks at the rise of "Islamic tourism" and hotels that cater specifically to Muslims. These hotels offer segregated swimming, perform daily prayers and do not sell alcohol. Some argue that, like the fisherwoman incident, the hotels are evidence of the Islamisation of Turkey. But, fear not, Turks! Serafettin Ulukent, the owner of one such hotel, says it is instead evidence of, as the Independent paraphrases, "the patriarchal attitudes of macho Turkish."

Ah, in that case, carry on!

By Tracy Clark-Flory

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