LOCAL > Pregnant women gather to protest Sufi thinker who urged them not to 'stroll in public'


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In Taksim Square and in Kadıköy on the Asian side, pregnant women and their husbands, who wore pillows under their t-shirts, defied Ömer Tuğrul İnançer by chanting 'our bodies are ours.' DHA photo

In Taksim Square and in Kadıköy on the Asian side, pregnant women and their husbands, who wore pillows under their t-shirts, defied Ömer Tuğrul İnançer by chanting 'our bodies are ours.' DHA photo

Pregnant women gathered in Istanbul July 25 to protest the statements of a lawyer and Sufi thinker who said on state television that it was "disgraceful" for expectant women to show themselves in public.

In Taksim Square and in Kadıköy on the Asian side, pregnant women and their husbands, who wore pillows under their t-shirts, defied Ömer Tuğrul İnançer's opposition to them "strolling around" by chanting "our bodies are ours" in two separate demonstrations.

"Announcing pregnancy with a flourish of trumpets is against our civility. [They] should not stroll in the streets with such bellies. First of all, it is not aesthetic," İnançer had said during a daily special iftar program on TRT.

"After seven or eight months of pregnancy, future mothers go out with their husbands by car to get some fresh air. And they go out in the evening hours. But now, they are all on television. It's disgraceful. It is not realism, it is immorality," he added.

After İnançer's TV appearance, Twitter users denounced his words under the hashtag #resistpregnant, which echoed the slogans of the Gezi protests, and called for demonstrations.

A spokeswoman of the Green and Left Future Party said in a statement that they held the mindset of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) responsible for İnançer's words. "This mindset which dares to dictate to us how many children we should have, how we should give birth, if we can have abortions and where we can go has been embodied once again by Ömer Tuğrul İnançer on TRT. We have known for some time the anti-woman policies of the AKP that feed this mindset. And we are opposing that," said Nadire Gül. "Pregnancy is not immoral, much less something to be ashamed of." 

A woman in her eighth month of pregnancy who participated in the demonstration told reporters she thought at first that İnançer's statement was a "comedy." "I think that these sorts of statements are mishaps and they will apologize for it. As a pregnant woman I forgive İnançer for his statement but also hope that he will apologize to all of us and especially to the child in my belly," Eda Çatalcam said.

İnançer has defended himself following the reactions, but Turkey's Religious Affairs Directorate issued a statement saying Islam required no isolation of women and that being a mother was a gift.

The statement still called on pregnant women to dress modestly. "However, pregnant women should be more careful about their dress – every woman should. [They] should not wear clothes showing their bellies or backs," it said.


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Notice on comments

Turkish Daughter

7/28/2013 7:32:06 PM

A pregnant woman is a beautiful thing. She is creating a life and we should all be celebrating with her not hiding her. Go back to living in tents with camels if that's the lifestyle you crave.

Thracian Anatolian

7/28/2013 3:48:34 PM

@Foundalis Drop the jubilant atheism rant. My comment is valid whatever your beliefs are. Culturally you come from an Orthodox background and that is why you do not react with the same intensity to the pronouncements of monks as you do here (cultural nationalism). A quick look at the headlines of newspapers like Eleftheri Ora reveals how silly the members of the church are (last time I checked, they were commenting on M.Douglas’s throat cancer and his related habits!).

Chris Green

7/28/2013 2:39:17 PM

Brit: My essay entitled “In the ‘Global Village’ in which we all reside in the 21st Century, men and women should have equal rights and opportunities” which can be found not only on my website but also my BlogSpot, amplifies and highlights a number of cases which could lead one to conclude, that in a great many countries, Britain included it is might bad luck, through the accident of birth from whence we all derive, to be born female!

Chris Green

7/28/2013 10:24:42 AM

Mr Foundalis: In response to your post which includes me, it is impossible for me within the context not only of the specifics of this article but also within the 500 character limit, for me to set out a broader view on the wider implications alluded to in this piece. What I can say is that I am working with specialists here in the UK on a variety of topics and what is very clear is that historically, miscreants of all faiths and creeds use their high office to oppress, abuse and commit crimes.

Brit in Turkey

7/27/2013 6:04:47 PM

In the Middle Ages upper class women were "confined" during pregnancy. Amongst other reasons this was a way to cover up the embarrassment of illegitimacy. But this was in then Middle Ages which shows what stage Turkey (sorry not the whole of Turkey, but a few nut-cases) has now reached in its (backward?) evolution.

Harry Foundalis

7/27/2013 3:29:55 PM

@TheAnatolian & @Chris Green who agrees with him/her: who told you, folks, that I don’t have great fun with the Orthodox priests’ “wise” pronouncements? :-) I’m a Greek, sure, but not an Orthodox. Stop stereotyping. I am an atheist. So, I see all religious nuts creating “pearls of wisdom”, like your Ömer Tuğrul İnançer, a Turk and a Muslim. It’s just that the Islamic “pearls” shine with better luster. I challenge you to bring forth some Orthodox “pearls” and compare them! :-)

hanni bal

7/27/2013 2:43:41 PM

Ignorance makes me sad with these people does not know about Islamic code of dressing.

Agnes Smith

7/27/2013 1:26:46 PM

He is a disgrace to the essence of Sufism. Sufis believe they are practicing ihsan (perfection of worship) of which this is not an example. They should denounce him immediately to protect their dignity and faith. Maybe it is a publicity stunt to sell his books. Sometimes I am slightly relieved the Turks aren't a book reading nation.

P Elan

7/27/2013 12:01:52 PM

Thank you mrİnançer for reminding me that spiritual tradition can lead to ignorant stupidity. The way you want to protect women reminds me of the advise by a talibanspokesman who wrote a letter to MalalaYousafzai: Know your place and in Gods eyes (seen through the eyes of a man) you live without sin. I prefer the words by Abu alMaari: By fearing whom I trust I find my way,To truth; by trusting wholly I betray,The trust of wisdom; better far is doubt, Which brings the false into the light of day

Chris Green

7/27/2013 11:08:58 AM

I align myself with The Anatolian's observations in respect of the Orthodox Church, the opinions expressed, the behaviour and proclivities of some of their clergy, past and present. These issues are not mutually exclusive to any particular faith.
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