Shut up already, as men!

Shut up already, as men!

Deputy Prime Minister Bülent Arınç sparked uproar when he told an opposition deputy to be quiet as a woman during a parliamentary session. (Photo: Today’s Zaman, Mustafa Kirazlı)

The Justice and Development Party (AKP) doesn’t like women.

In a range of anti-women statements made over many years, the AKP’s major representatives have managed to attack every aspect of womanhood, with each remark being more scandalous than the next.

The latest such assault came from deputy prime minister and government spokesperson Bülent Arınç, who recently told a female deputy to “Shut up as a woman” in Parliament. When faced with criticism, he was unapologetic. He said he was only maintaining discipline in Parliament. He said he would have apologized if he had said, “Shut up, woman!”

If one was to compile a complete list of the AKP and company’s anti-women assertions, this post would never end, but here is a quick look at some of the highlights.

This was not the first time Arınç stated that women should shut up. He once said they should not only shut up, but also not let out so much as a giggle in public, unless they want us to think them loose.

For the AKP, men are inherently better than women. Even rapists are better than women. It would be unfair to the rest of this male-supremacist group to state that AKP deputy Ayhan Sefer Üstün was only speaking for himself when he said “a rapist is more innocent than a rape victim who has an abortion.” On the same subject, the AKP’s Ankara Mayor Melih Gökçek said instead of having abortions, women should kill themselves.

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has repeatedly said women and men can never be equals and it is against nature to argue that they can.

Women’s place in the workforce has also been a source of dismay for the AKP. Its Finance Minister Mehmet Şimşek once famously attributed Turkey’s high unemployment rate to “women who are looking for jobs.” Minister of Forestry and Water Affairs Veysel Eroğlu, is remembered for his remark, “Don’t you have enough to do at home?” to a female voter who had asked the minister to help with finding her a job.

The AKP’s Tokat deputy Zeyid Aslan, who once was photographed by a journalist as he dozed off in Parliament, told female journalists, “Would you like it if I took a picture of your crotch and published it in the newspaper?”

And so on…

In keeping with this mentality, the AKP government has repeatedly and consistently undermined women, imposed policies geared towards keeping them at home and has done little to fight Turkey’s epidemic of female murders.

In 2014, according to data from the official statistics agency, the Turkish Statistics Institute (TURKSTAT), the participation rate of women in the workforce was 30 percent, considerably below the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) average of 69 percent.

Many organizations claim that the AKP, through its policies, has actually caused the murders of women to increase in number; and that claim is credible: According to figures provided by the Confederation of Revolutionary Workers’ Unions (DİSK), the number of incidents of violence and murders targeting women has gone up by 1400 percent under the AKP’s rule over the past decade.

Leaving Turkey’s women in an abysmal condition through archaic social policies is not our choice as a nation. The results of the June 7 elections have left the AKP without a parliamentary majority. Although both President Erdoğan and Arınç must understand the inevitable end is near, with or without snap elections.

My recommendation as a woman would be that they simply shut up as men. Their 10-plus years in power have hurt more women in Turkey (and possibly elsewhere) than one could believe.

The AKP cadres, now in their lame-duck state, should simply shut up as men. If they don’t, the onus is on us voters to make sure that happens in early elections. It is a shame that they are making the endgame uglier than it could have been.


This post originally appeared at Today’s Zaman blog section

Author: E Baris Altintas

I am a journalist and a civil society professional. I can be reached at

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