A Blog by the Editor of The Middle East Journal

Putting Middle Eastern Events in Cultural and Historical Context

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Culture Wars Watch: Turkish Deputy PM on Protester in Bikini

What is it about Islamists and bikinis? Well, I mean, I know the answer, basically, but why would the Deputy Prime Minister of Turkey (Mediterranean beaches, Aegean beaches, Black Sea beaches, big tourism sector) get tied in knots over a woman protester in Taksim wearing a bikini? They're not unknown on any of those beaches, last I heard.
The Culprit (Hürriyet Daily News)
Oh, I know that beachwear in countries with a big tourist sector is expected to be quite different from daily dress in downtown urban areas. If a tourist in Egypt from the beaches of Sharm al-Sheikh or Hurghada showed up in downtown Cairo, many Salafi heads would explode. (Make up your own minds whether that's a bad thing.) But as Hürriyet Daily News informs us: "Turkish Deputy PM says he could barely “restrain” himself from speaking out on bikini woman.":
Deputy Prime Minister Bülent Arınç said he was “barely restraining” himself from saying certain things about the recent protests in Taksim where a woman danced around in her bikinis until police forces detained her, slamming the woman for believing “nudity is freedom.”

“We have a misunderstanding of freedom in a way that we see it as letting everyone on to the streets and stripping naked. Like in Taksim, recently, a woman came out eventually, and excuse me for saying this, just stripped off all her clothes, starting to dance in her underwear. Supposedly she came from Switzerland, and supposedly she brought freedom to Turkey. I can barely restrain myself from saying something,”
Either Mr. Arınç or his translator raises some questions here: "danced around in her bikinis": how many was she wearing exactly? She "just stripped off all her clothes, starting to dance in her underwear." Well, it wasn't all her clothes if she was wearing "underwear" or, apparently, a bathing suit. But the biggest question about his phrasing is: "I can barely restrain myself from saying something." Um, you didn't restrain yourself. You just said something to the Turkish national media and I'm blogging it over here in the US, OK?


Al Moxtar said...

If Bikini clad protesters (female.. and come to think of it male as well) could take care of Salafis à la "Mars Attacks!" Aliens, I'd consider donating for a charter protest flight direct from Rio de Janeiro :)

Ok, that would callous, I'd settle on "fixing" the Salafis :)

Michael Collins Dunn said...

Airfare for a few topless bathers from the French Riviera would cost less and work faster. I'm afraid to ask what you mean by "fixing", but think I know.

Al Moxtar said...

Ok, I'm not THAT uncharitable :D just regular "fixing" would do :)

And since I'm the donating, ok probably just fund-raising, person, I get to pick eh? Otherwise, as you mentioned, a day trip coach from a red sea resort would have done the trick.

No point in day dreaming if you can't do so as inefficiently, corruptly and pleasurably as possible ^^