#10YearChallenge; Turkey puts spotlight on the headscarf

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#10YearChallenge; Turkey puts spotlight on the headscarf

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The headscarf was banned for years in Turkey

Turkish social media users joining the hugely viral #10YearChallenge have sparked a debate about the practice of wearing the Islamic headscarf.

Turkish women who took off their headscarves adopted this trend to talk about the reasons behind their decision.

The topic has long been a controversial subject. Wearing headscarves in public institutions was banned for years and students were not allowed to go to university with their headscarves.

But over the past decade under President Recep Tayyip Erdogan the ban has gradually been lifted.

Secularists see the headscarf as a symbol of politics and religious conservatism and accuse Mr Erdogan's government of pushing a religious agenda.

Pressure on some young women to wear headscarves has also come from pious Muslim parents and some parts of wider society.

The #10YearChallenge has seen people sharing photos from 10 years ago and today but for some of the women in Turkey the decision to remove their headscarf was more recent, so they instead used the hashtag the #1yearchallenge.

  • What the world's #10YearChallenge looks like

Among them were Nazan, who shared a photo of herself paragliding.

"#1yearchallenge, there is no possible way to describe how beautiful it feels to live as you believe and as you want," she tweeted.

Skip Twitter post by @NazanBalkaya34

#1YearChallenge
?nsan?n inand??? ?ekilde ya?amak istedi?i ?ekilde ya?ayabilmesinin tarifi yok san?r?m. pic.twitter.com/MYR6eJt7c8

— Nazan (@NazanBalkaya34) January 17, 2019

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End of Twitter post by @NazanBalkaya34

Many of those messages have been retweeted on Twitter by an online platform called You'll Never Walk Alone.

It encourages Turkish women who took off their headscarves, or who are thinking about taking off their headscarves, to share their stories.

The founder of the website told the BBC Turkish, on condition of anonymity, that the aim was to show Turkish women that "they are not alone and that they are in solidarity with those women in their difficult journey".

"Nobody at 13-14 years old age should be forced to wear something they'll have to put on for the rest of their lives," the founder said to BBC Turkish.

Here are some more of their stories

"Anybody can say anything they want. WE ARE LIBERATED and this has nothing to do with our family or our entourage," Busranur wrote.

"Our thoughts about ourselves and our thoughts about what we can do have been liberated.

"We are purified from any kind of dogmas – the religion could ever impose on a woman. We did not play the role others have assigned for us. We have become ourselves #10yearchallenge."

Skip Twitter post by @kirazcicegi_

?steyen istedi?i yere çekebilir, ÖZGÜRLE?T?K. Ve bunun aileyle çevreyle alakas? yok. Kendimize, yapabileceklerimize dair dü?üncelerimiz özgürle?ti. Dinin kad?na dayatt??? tüm normlardan ar?nd?k. Ba?kalar?n?n bize biçti?i rolü oynamad?k. Kendimiz olduk.#10yearschallenge pic.twitter.com/bdX1O8bacy

— Bü?ranur (@kirazcicegi_) January 18, 2019

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End of Twitter post by @kirazcicegi_

"I do smile all the time but life is not always bed of roses for me. As a graduate from Imam Hatip religious high school, it was me fighting for the right of wearing a headscarf (in universities) but I also fought to take off it for eight years," another tweeted.

"For a long time, I had an inner struggle and for the five years it has turned out to be struggle against my entourage and the whole society."

Image Copyright @mistiktanrica @mistiktanrica Report
Twitter post by @mistiktanrica: Hep gülüyorum ama hayat o kadar da toz pembe de?il benim için. Ba?örtüsü ve katsay? için mücadele eden ?HL mezunu ben, sonras?nda 8 sene boyunca ta??d??? örtüyü ç?karma mücadelesi veren yine ben. Uzun süre, önce kendime 5 y?ld?r da tüm çevreme ve topluma kar??.#10YearsChallenge Image Copyright @mistiktanrica @mistiktanrica Report

Others saw it differently

There has been a counter-response, though, with some women saying it was their choice to wear headscarves.

"#10yearchallenge it's my fourth year wearing a headscarf. I don't think it's right to discuss freedom in such a way," wrote one woman.

"I can't accept the fact that some enthusiastically praise those who take off their headscarves as enlightened human as if they own morality."

Skip Twitter post by @Deryameryemm

#10yearchallenge 4. Y?l?m oldu ba?örtüsüyle .Daha özgür meselesinin bu kadar modernist kal?plar üzerinden yürütülmesini do?ru bulmuyorum ve bir kesimin "i?tahla" ba??n? açanlara "ayd?nlanm?? insan" övgüleri ile ahlak?n sahibi kendileriymis gibi davranmas?n? da kabul etmiyorm… pic.twitter.com/ppfO8wEWMy

— A??k Bahrure (@Deryameryemm) January 17, 2019

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End of Twitter post by @Deryameryemm

Men joined the debate too

"Anybody can cover themselves or uncover as they like, this is nobody's business," wrote one.

"I see posts from those uncovering over the last few days. I think it turned out to be a bit of empty talk! You should have respect for those putting on headscarves as well as those who take them off. Stop making insulting comments!"

Skip Twitter post by @ademarslan

?steyen istedi?i gibi aç?l?r saç?l?r kapan?r kimseyi ilgilendirmez de , bir kaç gündür kapan?p aç?lanlar?n de?i?imleri dola??p duruyor. Bu biraz tesettürü meze yapmaya döndü sanki! Aç?lana sayg? duydu?unuz gibi kapal? olanlara da sayg? duyun hakaretvari yorum yapmay?n insan olun!

— AdemArs. (@ademarslan) January 19, 2019

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End of Twitter post by @ademarslan

This user said "identifying freedom with the headscarf is wrong".

"Associating the headscarf with liberation (freedom) is bigotry. Freedom is an ability to act freely without being under anyone's oppression. Sometimes, even self-covering would be freedom."

Skip Twitter post by @zeyno1606

Basörtü takmamanin özgürlükle bagtastirilmasi nasil bir gericiliktir. Özgürlük kisinin baski altinda olmadan istegidi gibi hareket etmesidir. Bazen kapanabilmek de özgürlüktür.

— zeyno (@zeyno1606) January 18, 2019

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End of Twitter post by @zeyno1606

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