MANY Turkish women have doubled over with laughter after their country’s deputy leader said in a speech assailing “moral corruption” that women should not laugh in public and should not talk on their mobile phones so much.
Speaking at a celebration marking the end of Ramadan, Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc took aim at contemporary life in Turkey, arguing for more chastity, humility and reading of the Quran and less consumerism, oil consumption and sex in the media, the Hurriyet Daily News reported.
As news of the speech spread, thousands of Turkish women posted photos on social media of themselves and friends laughing in public places.
The Hurriyet Daily News offered this excerpt from Arinc’s remarks: “Chastity is so important. It is not only a name. It is an ornament for both women and men. (She) will have chasteness. Man will have it, too. He will not be a womanizer. He will be bound to his wife. He will love his children. (The woman) will know what is haram (sin) and not haram. She will not laugh in public. She will not be inviting in her attitudes and will protect her chasteness.”
He also sniped at women for what he considers unnecessary or trivial topics for cellphone talk.
“Women give each other meal recipes while speaking on the mobile phone. ‘What else is going on?’
Arinc is a co-founder of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s Islamist-based Justice and Development Party, known as AKP. Erdogan is running for re-election in August.
Erdogan’s main rival, Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, laughed at his opponent’s deputy.
“We need to hear the happy laughter of women,” he tweeted.