Turkish women tweet shoe pictures in new anti-sexism protest

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ISTANBUL, August 13, 2014 (AFP) – Turkish women took to social networks on Wednesday to post pictures of shoes in a new viral campaign against sexism inspired by a female deputy’s incendiary speech in parliament.

Turkish opposition MP Aylin Nazliaka had launched a withering denunciation of gender discrimination in Turkey, during which she became so incensed she threatened to throw one of her high-heeled shoes at her fellow deputies.

“I swear to God, the devil inside me tells me to take off my shoe and throw it at you. But I take a look at my shoe and then I take a look at you and say, ‘It’s not worth it’,” she said in the speech in parliament on Tuesday.

In the Islamic world, throwing a shoe or exposing a shoe sole at an opponent is considered one of the biggest possible insults.

Inspired by the powerful speech, Turkish women were posting pictures of their shoes under the hashtag #geliyorterlik (the slipper is coming).

“My slipper is coming and it can hurt just like a police truncheon,” Twitter user @blenderella wrote.

The new campaign comes after Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc caused a furore last month by saying that Turkish women should not laugh in public.

This prompted thousands of Turkish women to post pictures of themselves laughing deliriously, under the hashtag #direnkakhaha (#resistlaughter).

The government of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who was elected president on Sunday, has long been accused by critics of seeking to erode the country’s secular principles and limiting the civil liberties of women.

Nazliaka’s angry outburst came during a heated session in parliament during which she urged lawmakers to immediately discuss a bill that would grant victims of domestic violence residing in women’s shelters the right to vote.

She said the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) was exposing women to violence “due to the policies that you impose on the female body”.

She said the AKP wanted to control “what women wear, what women eat, even what colour of lipstick they use.”

Domestic violence is a major problem in Turkey, with dozens of women killed by their husbands every year.

Looking in the direction of where the AKP lawmakers are seated in the parliament, she said: “Do not look far away, I am talking about you. You are the ones who encourage those murderers.”

Her impassioned speech was unable to win over the AKP lawmakers, who hold a comfortable majority in parliament and turned down her proposal to speed up the passage of the domestic violence bill.

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