Turkish president proud of ‘boys and girls’ with medals
ANKARA – Hürriyet Daily News
President Abdullah Gül delivered a speech as host of a ceremony at the Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey (TÜBİTAK). CİHAN photoAlthough unclear whether it was intentional or not, President Abdullah Gül has made a remarkable reference to the recent debate on mixed-sex accommodation recently sparked by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.
“Last week, here, I lived one of the happiest days of my life … About 20 girls and boys came here with their golden, silver and bronze medals on their chests. I chatted with them for a while,” Gül said yesterday while hosting a scientific award ceremony, adding that he felt “proud of them.”
The president was delivering a speech as host of a ceremony for the Science and Encouragement Awards by the Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey (TÜBİTAK), the Encouragement Award by TÜBİTAK and the World Academy of Sciences (TWAS), for the advancement of science in developing countries.
“Boys and girls” is a phrase commonly used by Erdoğan, and he used it most recently during the controversy sparked in early November, when he condemned female and male students’ living together under one roof and vowed to take measures against such living arrangements.
Erdoğan’s public objection to university students’ sharing co-ed accommodation triggered accusations of religiously inspired interference in private life.
Later, members of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and the Cabinet sought to cool the impact of Erdoğan’s remarks, which were widely condemned as part of what is perceived as an increasingly authoritarian style of governance.