Philippine Daily Inquirer - - WORLD - —REUTERS

Hun­dreds of Turk­ish women marched in the coun­try’s big­gest city, Istanbul, on Sat­ur­day to protest against the vi­o­lence and an­i­mos­ity they face from men de­mand­ing they dress more con­ser­va­tively.

The march, dubbed “Don’t Mess With My Out­fit,” started in the Kadikoy dis­trict on the Asian side of the city. Women chanted slo­gans and car­ried denim shorts on hang­ers as ex­am­ples of the type of cloth­ing some men say they find un­ac­cept­able.

“We will not obey, be si­lenced, be afraid. We will win through re­sis­tance,” the crowds chanted, hold­ing up posters and LGBT rain­bow flags.

Istanbul has long been seen as a rel­a­tively lib­eral city for women and gay peo­ple.

But crit­ics say Pres­i­dent Re­cep Tayyip Er­do­gan and his Is­lamist-rooted AK Party have shown lit­tle in­ter­est in ex­pand­ing rights for mi­nori­ties, gays and women, and are in­tol­er­ant of dis­sent.

Shame game

Protesters say there has been an in­creas­ing num­ber of ver­bal and phys­i­cal at­tacks against women for their choice of cloth­ing.

In one in­ci­dent in June, a young woman, Asena Melisa Saglam, was at­tacked by a man on a bus in Istanbul for wear- ing shorts dur­ing the Mus­lim holy month of Ra­madan. Video of the in­ci­dent showed the man hit­ting her while the bus driver watched.

“Are you not ashamed of dress­ing like this dur­ing Ra­madan?” the footage showed the man say­ing.

In an­other in­ci­dent, Canan Kay­makci was ha­rassed on the street in Istanbul when a man ac­cused her of wear­ing provoca­tive cloth­ing, say­ing she should be care­ful be­cause she was “turn­ing peo­ple on.”

An­other woman, Ay­segul Terzi, was called a devil and kicked by a man on a pub­lic bus, also for wear­ing shorts. Footage showed the man telling her that those who wear shorts “should die.”

Sat­ur­day’s march was joined by sev­eral mem­bers of the gay and trans­gen­der com­mu­nity, af­ter Istanbul’s pride march was banned by au­thor­i­ties late in June.

Free choice

Since Er­do­gan took of­fice nearly 15 years ago, re­stric­tions on wear­ing the head­scarf im­posed by Turkey’s sec­u­lar 20th cen­tury lead­ers had been eased and more women in the mainly Mus­lim coun­try had cho­sen to wear it.

“Don’t med­dle with my head­scarf, shorts, out­fits,” read posters held by par­tic­i­pants.


RIGHT TO CHOOSE Turk­ish women shout slo­gans dur­ing a rally in Istanbul to protest the vi­o­lence and an­i­mos­ity they face from men de­mand­ing they dress more con­ser­va­tively. ISTANBUL—

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