Evolution of modern Turkish feminist thoughts and movement

YANG Yulong1

(1.History School, Northwest University)

【Abstract】After the establishment of the modern Turkish state in 1923, the Kemal government implemented top-down state feminism reforms, and the bottom-up women’s popular movement also emerged at the same time, leading to the two-way interaction between Turkish feminist thoughts and movements. Therefore, women’s equal rights were guaranteed to some extent. After the low tide of women’s movement, in the 1980s and 1990s, with the improvement of Turkey’s political, economic and social environment, Turkish feminist thoughts gradually divided. Through various types of women’s organizations, those feminist thoughts, represented by secular feminism, Islamic feminism, Kurdish feminism, carried out social movements and effectively promoted the progress of the Turkish women’s rights. Religion, secularism and ethnicity have become the dominant factors in the differentiation of feminist thoughts. After the Justice and Development Party (AKP) came into power in the early 2000s, it, one the one hand, has continued to keep the spirit of state feminism to promote the development of gender equality; on the other hand, there are still many disputes between the AKP government and radical secular feminists, between secular feminists and Islamic feminists, between Kurdish feminists and secular feminists in relation to the status, rights and obligations of women. The disputes have intensified the debate on feminist thoughts, which has further exacerbated the complexity of the development of the Turkish women’s movement. How to further advance the status of women and achieve gender equality in education, employment, and political participation remains the main goal of the future Turkish feminist movement.

【Keywords】 feminism; Turkey; state feminism; Justice and Development Party; Islamic feminism;


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This Article


CN: 11-1150/C

Vol , No. 06, Pages 135-158

December 2019


Article Outline


  • 1 Generation and development of Turkish feminism in Kemal’s era
  • 2 Differentiation of Turkish feminism from the perspective of new social movements
  • 3 Bitter controversy over Turkish feminism in the AKP period
  • 4 Conclusion
  • Footnote