Turkey Laugh

In most countries across the globe women can now vote, they can be the breadwinners in their families; heck women have been Presidents and Prime Ministers. However, while the glass ceiling appears to be cracking in most places, in Turkey women have been refused the right to laugh!

It seems the Turkish government are determined to shout down everything at the moment. First it was Twitter then it was YouTube and now it’s fun with Turkey’s Deputy Prime Minister and one of the co-founders of the ruling Islamic-rooted Justice and Development party (AKP), Bulent Arinc, insisting that women shouldn’t laugh in public.

In a recent controversial speech politician Bulent Arinc said: “A man should be moral but women should be moral as well, they should know what is decent and what is not decent. She should not laugh loudly in front of all the world and should preserve her decency at all times.”

While Bulent also went on to lash out at popular Turkish soap operas for encouraging lax lifestyles, his views over women laughing in public is what understandably prompted a huge public backlash.

Of course, his political rival Ekmeleddin İhsanoğlu used Bulent’s offensive ideals to his advantage, posting on Twitter: “We need to hear the happy laughter of women.”

Meanwhile, women in Turkey also took to social media to make stance. Posting images of themselves smiling and laughing  along with hashtag #kahkaha meaning laughter, as well as #direnkahkaha (Resist Laughter) and #direnkadin (Resist Woman).

Turkish writer and political commentator Ece Temelkuran was one of the first to tweet an image of herself laughing. She said: “My whole timeline was full of women laughing, which was extraordinary, and kind of beautiful”.

However, it wasn’t just women who were outraged by Bulent’s comments. Fatih Portakal, a famous Turkish TV presenter, tweeted: “Oh God, let this be just a joke. If women can’t laugh in public, then men should not cry in public.”

To date there have been over 300,000 tweets using the term kahkaha. Let’s help make a statement – it’s time to shine and smile ladies. In the wise words of Charlie Chaplin: “A day without laughter is a day wasted.”


 Images: Twitter