Turkish women turn their back in protest at Erdoğan

Turkish women turn their back in protest at Erdoğan

ISTANBUL
Turkish women turn their back in protest at Erdoğan

Thousands of Turkish women have posted their photos on social media showing them turning their backs in protest at President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s latest rebuke targeting women.

“It is very interesting that a group here... I beg your pardon but my decency does not permit me to put it another way... turned their backs on me while making the victory sign,” Erdoğan said in the eastern Turkish province of Iğdır on June 1.

“If you have a modicum of politeness, honor and ability, then the place for politics is parliament,” he added, claiming that the women needed to be deputies to have the right to protest the Turkish president.

In response to Erdoğan, thousands of women posted photos of them turning their back on June 2. Photos included not only women, but also some men, and of course cats, almost all accompanied by remarks criticizing Erdoğan.

According to social media analytics firm topsy, the social media action’s hashtag, #SırtımızıDönüyoruz (We Are Turning Our Backs) was used in 122,138 tweets on June 2. The hashtag even topped Twitter’s trending topics list in Turkey and climbed as high as third spot in the global ranking.

Local media reported that the women that were slammed by Erdoğan were supporters of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), which is focused on the Kurdish issue. 

“We will keep turning our back on this president,” HDP co-chair Figen Yüksekdağ said, while HDP co-chair Selahattin Demirtaş described Erdoğan’s remarks as “a vulgar, immoral insult.” 

Turkish women turn their back in protest at Erdoğan

This is not the first time that women have taken social media by storm in a protest against Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP). 

In July 2014, hundreds of women shared their photos while laughing with hashtags #kahkaha (laugh) and #direnkahkaha (resist, laugh) to protest Deputy Prime Minister Bülent Arınç’s call on them to “not laugh in public.”

The following month, the fiery speech of a female opposition deputy at parliament triggered another social media protest with hundreds of women expressing anger at male dominance by sharing photos of their shoes and slippers.

Women’s solidarity actions on social media have recently been popularized in the Middle East. Most recently, leg selfies flooded social media in Algeria last month, after a university banned a student from sitting her exam because her skirt was too short.