Halkevi to protest Antalya women’s only beach as example of ‘gender apartheid’

Halkevi to protest Antalya women’s only beach as example of ‘gender apartheid’

ANTALYA – Doğan News Agency
Halkevi to protest Antalya women’s only beach as example of ‘gender apartheid’

AA Photo

Female and male protesters are planning to swim together at Antalya’s Sarısu beach to protest its recent transformation into a women’s only beach.

The beach was converted into a free-of-charge, women’s only beach and opened with a ceremony on Aug. 16 by Antalya Municipality.

Members of the Antalya People’s House (Halkevi) and an affiliated organization, the Students’ Collective (Öğrenci Kolektifi), at Akdeniz University will hold a picnic at the beach on Aug. 24. They will also dance the “horon,” a folk dance of the Black Sea region, in reaction to a statement by a Samsun mufti who said it was religiously impermissible for men and women to dance the horon together.

Ayten Ceyhan, the head of the Antalya Halkevi, said the women’s only practice would result in gender apartheid.

“They are not only opening women’s only beaches. Statements triggering gender apartheid are being made across Turkey,” she said, referring to the Samsun mufti’s remarks over the horon.

“I suggest that rapes and violence against women should be prevented with deterrent laws instead of separating women and men,” she said.

Mayor Menderes Türel of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) previously said the move was “a necessity to serve all citizens for whom the Constitution stipulates affirmative action,” adding that the municipality had recently transformed Konyaaltı, another beach in the province, into a free-of-charge beach adapted for the use of people with disabilities.

The mayor also recalled that there were women’s only beaches in Antalya in the 1930s when the Turkish Republic’s founder, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, was president, saying he was “happy to be the person who remembered this after 80 years.”

The beach has been designated on a 7.2-hectare area including restaurants, snack shops, small shops, a playground, a sports area and a prayer room. The staff of the beach also consists of only women, including cleaners, security officers and lifeguards.