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16. Oktober 2009

Pinar Selek © Pinar Selek

Pinar Selek

“It’s hip to wear a headscarf”

Talking to Pinar Selek, Turkish sociologist, journalist and founder of the Amargi Women´s Co-op

Pinar Selek is concurrently organizing Turkish women to challenge the dominant male mindset, promoting a new book, traveling around the world to speak about women’s power in Turkey, and fighting charges of laying a bomb in a marketplace - of which she has been acquitted twice. During Ms. Selek’s recent trip to Vienna to speak about the women’s movement in Turkey, we had the chance to ask her about the struggle between Islamism and secularism in Turkey, the strengths of women’s groups, and the need to build international support networks to solidify women’s position.

Ms. Selek made it clear that while some government officials support the introduction of Islam into government, Turkey does not have a religious, fundamentalist regime. The enduring headscarf debate, once forcibly quelled by Attatürk, is regaining momentum, however, and has resulted in the creation of a headscarf fashion niche—“it’s hip to wear a headscarf.” Although Ms. Selek does not see the presence of violent extremism in Turkish society, she has noticed increased pressure on women that is emanating from politics and from society at large.
There are numerous women’s organizations to serve the broad range of women who call Turkey their home, despite the manifold political and financial hurdles involved in creating an organization. Ms. Selek is the founder of Amargi Women’s Co-op, which seeks to create free spaces for women in a patriarchal society. This growing network of women provides them with a place where they can be themselves.

Pinar Selek was in Vienna on invitation of the Vienna Institute for International Dialogue and Cooperation (VIDC).


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