Turkish women's predicament
Women's Studies International Forum
303 - 315
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To the foreign observer, Turkish women constitute an anomaly amongst Muslim societies. Since the creation of the Turkish Republic in 1923, Turkey has engaged in a project of modernization and secularization. As part and parcel of this process of modernization, Turkish women have been granted social, political, and legal rights. Despite Kemalist reforms of the 1920s, the basics of male domination stayed intact. It is this paradoxical character of Kemalist reforms that this article emphasises. The legal equality granted to Turkish women did not succeed in their emancipation. The image of Turkey as the only modern, secular, democratic country in the Islamic Middle East has been an effective distortion, concealing many truths about Turkey. The author proposes that the Mediterranean culture, the Islamist traditions, and the Kemalist ideology act together in perpetuating the oppression of women in Turkey and keep patriarchy intact.