Sunday, May 14, 2023

repeats, from 2008 and 12: NYT, Religion and Class in Turkey

ISTANBUL : When two women in Islamic head scarves were spotted in an Italian restaurant in this city’s new shopping mall this month, Gulbin Simitcioglu did a double take.

Covered women, long seen as backward peasants from the countryside, “have started to be everywhere,” said Ms. Simitcioglu, a sales clerk in an Italian clothing store, and it is making women like her more than a little uncomfortable. “We are Turkey’s image. They are ruining it.”

As Turkey lurches toward a repeal of a ban on head scarves at universities, the country’s secular upper middle class is feeling increasingly threatened.

Religious Turks, once the underclass of society here, have become educated and middle class, and are moving into urban spaces that were once the exclusive domain of the elite.  

and 2022: From polarization to pluralism 

April 20,

The man seeking to dislodge Recep Tayyip Erdoğan as Turkey’s leader has shaken up next month’s presidential elections by declaring his identity as an Alevi — a member of the country’s main religious minority, which has often suffered discrimination.

The statement by Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, the joint presidential candidate backed by six opposition parties, came in a Twitter video viewed almost 20 million times in less than 24 hours. The tweet itself was viewed some 70 million times.

While most Turks have long known that Kılıçdaroğlu hails from the Alevi minority, his decision to stress his identity is being widely viewed as a plea for pluralism and tolerance, and an attempt to strike a contrast with Erdoğan, who has based much of his political career on his mainstream Sunni identity.

As always: Fuck Dani Rodrik.

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