Women’s Rights and Gender Equality in Turkey| Framing the Alimony Debates in Turkey: Struggle Between Feminist and Antifeminist Discourses to Represent “Women’s Rights”

Esra Özcan


In this article, I analyze two media campaigns that have defended opposite positions about the amendments on alimony legislation in Turkey. The alimony debates reveal ongoing struggles not just to redefine the meanings of feminism and women’s rights in Turkey but also to redefine the role of the welfare state in alleviating poverty. One of the campaigns is run by leading feminists, and the other is run by profamily groups who claim that they are the victims of the existing alimony legislation. I focus on the intersections of gender and class and suggest that Turkey’s feminists might need new and subversive alliances in the current political moment characterized by the right-wing hegemony of the Justice and Development Party (Adalet ve Kalkınma Partisi, AKP). Reaching out to lower-class men and campaigning for gender equality by focusing not only on “women” as an identity category but also on poverty as a major source of oppression might enhance feminists’ chance to expand their base and push back on the conservative gender policies propagated by the AKP government.


Turkish media, alimony, feminism, poverty, low-income men, communication campaigns

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