Wednesday, August 29, 2007
Viewpoint: Turkey's soul unveiled
by Elif Shafak
Internationally acclaimed writer Elif Shafak says women's bodies have become a battlefield for competing views of modern Turkey.
Here she comments on the impact of Abdullah Gül's election as president. Mr. Gül is a former Islamist whose wife controversially wears the headscarf.
Ms. Shafak was tried last year - and acquitted - on charges of "insulting Turkishness" in her novel, The Bastard of Istanbul.
In the history of every country, there are certain periods when time flows more quickly and perhaps more painfully.
The year 2007 has been one of the most turbulent years in recent Turkish history.
Turkey's pop music reveals its close identification with the West.
And yet, Turkey has an amazing capacity to rapidly normalize things and generate stability out of commotion.
Now, after months of mass demonstrations and rising political tension, Turkey has finally chosen its president.
Much to the dismay of the conventional secular elite, the former foreign minister, Abdullah Gül, has become the new president.
In fact, very few people have a problem with Mr. Gül's personality. He has been a successful, pro-EU diplomat and a mild and moderate voice within his party.
His public support for journalists and writers on trial has also brought him close to intellectuals.
Today, in addition to his own electorate, he has the empathy and support of many in the intelligentsia and business circles.
Interestingly, it was less Mr. Gül himself than his wife who has been discussed and challenged - if not rejected - by the country's mainstream elite.
Read the article here.