Turkey's Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc made headlines Monday, July 28th when he said that women should not laugh in public, when giving a speech about "moral corruption," according to the Hurriyet Daily News. His comments have since produced an enormous backlash on social media. Check out the responses in the gallery above.
"The woman will know what is sin and not sin," said Arinc. "She will not laugh in public. She will not be inviting in her attitudes and will protect her chasteness."
Many Turkish women, however, did not agree with Arinc's remarks on women, nor his beliefs that laughter could somehow be inviting sexual conduct. Women of Turkey, and around the globe, flooded social media with photos of themselves smiling and laughing in defiance of Arinc and his conservative beliefs.
Adopting two hashtags to their protest, #direnkahkaha ("resist laughter") and #direnkadin ("resist woman"), more than 300,000 users have included the hashtags on Twitter in the past few days. Arinc's detractors suggest that he, and the government, should instead focus on other domestic issues such as violence to women and rape.
The incident has gone on to highlight the grim state of women's rights, and treatment, in Turkey. This 2009 report, funded by the European Union, found that nearly 4 of 10 women in Turkey have been beaten by their husbands or partners, and different regions report between 15% and 29% of ever-married women to have been a victim of sexual violence in their lifetime. The report concludes that violence by husbands is the most common form of violence in the lives of Turkish women, much more common than assault by strangers or acquaintances.
Arinc accused television and modern culture of promoting a "sex addict" lifestyle for teenagers, stating that people need to discover the Quran once again and stop abusing their youths with outside literature.
What do you think of Arinc's comments? Will you post a smiling selfie today? Let us know in the comments below.
Turkish women respond to accusations of 'moral corruption' with laughter
Tweet: I'm a Turkish girl, 26 years old, and I can't do anything but Smile!! (esrakansu / Twitter)