A refection on the rights of women in Turkey

A refection on the rights of women in Turkey
Who are you? Istanbul, May 2014 © Cristina Andreu

A refection on the rights of women in Turkey

Sometimes the most significant photos appear by chance. A few days on holiday in Istanbul, visiting its wonders, although I had decided only to take photos of women and women tourists, whether Arab or not. I had seen women dressed in Western clothes, from the most demure to the lightest as was normal given the heat, with niqabs or hijabs. Deciding what kind of photo to take during a trip teaches the eye to be alert, to look around. And that is what happened, I came out of a palace, turned round and there it was, a clash, traditional women, young women surprised to see each other and surprised to see me. Two of them look at me, one covers herself with a scarf the other with fashionable glasses. And one of the young ones can’t help covering her mouth to hide –her surprise? A moan?

Technically it is not a good photo, I just snapped. But I think it reflects what Istanbul was at that moment, what it had been for some years, what it hoped to be, a mix of ancient and modern, with conflicts but respect.

Over three years have passed since I took the photo, but I fear that this is no longer the present, that idea of progress is not progressive, I fear that the rights of women in Turkey are in retreat, and that dream that in a few years the women in the photo would not be surprised to see each other is not coming true.