Longing for the Harem

Turkey's First Lady's remarks on International Women's Day celebrate a tyrannical institution.

BY CounterJihad · @CounterjihadUS | March 11, 2016

Emine Erdogan, the wife of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, elected to mark the history of women in her country by celebrating the Ottoman Sultan’s harems.  Saying that these institutions were an educational institution that prepared women for life, she left out that the harems also mostly forbade women to go and live life outside of their walls.  The men who lived in the harems, excepting the Sultan himself, were slaves subjected to hideous physical mutilation.

Her comments came a day after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said a woman was “above all a mother” in a speech to mark International Women’s Day.  Family members, servants and concubines all lived in the imperial harem.  The sultans who ruled the Ottoman empire had a harem at Istanbul’s Topkapi Palace, which has been a museum since 1924. The sultan spent his domestic life in the harem, where his wives lived, as well as female family members and concubines, who numbered into the hundreds.

Male staff were eunuchs.

Mrs. Erdogan said that the relics left by female members of the harem could be “an inspiration” for modern women.  In fact, the closest example of the harem existing today is only a few miles to the southeast, where the so-called Islamic State in Iraq and Syria appears to have adopted the concept as a model for daily life.  Though so far they shoot, behead, or burn alive their male captives rather than castrating them, they have hit upon the idea of replicating the institution of slavery for their “wives” — often, like the Ottoman Sultan’s “wives,” forced into the marriage — as well as their female sex slaves.  These women also receive a similar “education,” an education on how to be submissive to their new masters.

Turkey’s President and his administration have been accused of everything from sympathy for ISIS to winking at its use of Turkish territory for resupply.  Given that reality, Turkish women with access to the internet challenged the President of Turkey and his wife for making such brazen remarks in favor of an institution of slavery.  One pointed out that the couple sent their own daughters not to a harem, but to an American university in Indiana, in order to be educated.

ISIS relies upon this romantic view of female slavery as a major feature of its recruiting efforts.  The draw for young Muslim men of having free access to captured non-Muslim women — and even Muslim women, if they are forced into a sham marriage — appears prominently in their propaganda.  The Turkish leadership’s blessing of this same view of women ought to be deeply alarming to Western states that see Turkey as an ally because of its NATO membership.  It provides an insight into where their heart really lies.



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