05/27/2013, 00.00
TURKEY

Ankara, Islamists wield knives against public kissing, one protester wounded

About 200 young people holt a kiss in protest in the Ankara subway. The initiative, launched in protest at the government's morality campaign, unleashes the wrath of the Islamists. A young man stabbed igniting debate between secularism and Islam in Turkey.

Ankara (AsiaNews / Agencies) - The public kissing of a hundred couples in Ankara, in response to calls by the authorities for more 'moral' behavior, has unleashed the wrath of Islamists. The counter-protest, launched by the fundamentalist fringe groups, led to the stabbing of a demonstrator.

"Free Kisses" was the slogan on banners Saturday, May 25, for the protest that gathered in front of the Kurtulus station. The police, who prevented young people from accessing the subway then attempted to come between them and about twenty Islamists who had flocked to a counter-protest to the chorus of "Allah Akhbar".

The episode, which led to the stabbing of a young Turkish man, is the most recent example of the dispute raging in the country between secularism and Islamic conservatism. In recent weeks, authorities in the capital have criticized public expressions of affection, while the speakers of the subway line in recent days, have made repeated announcements against couples kissing or behaving 'immorally' on trains. Such restrictions are part of a campaign 'in favor of moral behavior' stimulated by the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), and Islamic-oriented ruling majority.

Many citizens are concerned that this kind of political and social initiatives will bring the Islamic religion back to having a central role in the 'new Turkey'. In early April, Turkish Airlines, which had already imposed their own hostess uniform with a new veil and fez, prohibited their female employees from using red lipstick, the measure was lifted a few weeks later. In the night between 23 and 24 May, the Turkish parliament has instead approved a crackdown on alcohol, prohibiting the sale from 10 pm to 6 am, and by banning its sale in the vicinity of mosques or other educational centers. Many secular opposition politicians accuse the Prime Minister Recep Erdogan Tayipp silently and gradually Islamizing the country and following the events of Saturday, May 25, an opposition MP asked the majority party to clarify the legitimacy of the announcements made on the subway a few days ago.

 

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