Turkish women flood Twitter with images of them laughing

//Stop laughing, woman – it is forbidden  Flickr via @zenjazzygeek

Is there anything that Turkey doesn't want shut down? First it was Twitter, then it was YouTube, now it's women laughing in public.

In a speech given by Turkey's Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc on "moral corruption", he made the depressingly outrageous suggestion that women should not laugh in public, because "chastity is so important". Erdogan's AKP party shouldn't really be getting self-righteous about anything to do with showing your #feelings, particularly since its rumoured to contain a party member who cries during the PM's speeches. If he can weep, why can't women laugh?

Naturally, Arinc's suggestion has been met with widespread derision. Turkish women have taken to social media to fight back. Using the hashtags #kahkaha ("laughter") and #direnkahkaha ("resist laughter") the women of Turkey have flooded Twitter and Instagram with images of them having an absolutely great time wherever they like and delivering a huge "fuck you" to the AKP party in the process.

The Turkish writer and political commentator Ece Temelkuran tweeted a picture of herself laughing and told the BBC: "My whole timeline was full of women laughing - which was extraordinary, and kind of beautiful".

The Deputy PM also used the speech as an opportunity to air some of his other vague grievances, including his issues with women gossiping on the phone. “Women give each other meal recipes while speaking on the mobile phone," he said. "‘What else is going on?’ ‘What happened to Ayşe’s daughter?’ ‘When is the wedding?’ Talk about this face to face." TV shows also fell foul of his moral compass – Arinc claimed that television was turning teenagers into sex addicts.

Speaking to the Hurriyet Daily News, the chief advisor of the opposition Nationalist Movement Party put it rather nicely: "Arinc claims that Turkey is in moral collapse, but his own party has been governing the country for the past 12 years."



Thomas Gorton









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