Sunday, May 26, 2013

Kissing Protest in Turkey

Something about a kissing protest makes me feel really good about a holiday weekend. It gives me flashbacks of "Make Love Not War."
'Kiss protest' held at Turkey subway station
Some 100 people kissed for several minutes at Ankara station in protest of moral warnings by subway authorities.

Dozens of couples have locked lips at a subway stop in Turkey's capital, Ankara, to protest subway authorities' admonishment of a couple that kissed in public. 
Some 100 people in the station kissed for several minutes in protest on Saturday. Demonstrators carried signs reading "Free Kisses'' and chanted slogans. 
Turkish media reported that, earlier in the week, Ankara subway officials made an announcement asking passengers "to act in accordance with moral rules" after security cameras spotted the couple kissing. 
The issue prompted an opposition lawmaker to question the ruling party, which many secularists fear wants to expand the role of Islam in Turkey, about whether subway officials were authorised to make such demands. 
A conservative group of some 20 people staged a counter-protest. Police set up barricades between the groups.

Juan Cole noticed, too.
Turkey: Kissing Protest in Ankara

After a subway official chastised a young couple in Ankara for kissing in public, [Good picture gallery at the link] internet activists organized a small flashmob at the Kurtuluş metro station in the Turkish capital, where lots of couples engaged in a public display of affection. They attracted the ire of a group of religious men, but were protected by the police. 
Turkey’s society is deeply divided between urban middle and upper middle class youth who differ little from their European peers in their interests and activities, and more conservative small-town populations or rural labor migrants into the big cities, whose mores are more like those of people elsewhere in the Middle East. Of course, there are small-town secularists and big-city fundamentalists, too– it is a big complex society of 74 million people (falling between France and Germany demographically). 
Since 2002, a conservative, pro-market government tinged with religious commitments has been in power, after decades of rule by militantly secular governments that favored a large public sector. The eclipse of secularism has caused deep resentments and grievances among some in the urban middle classes.

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