Flying the fezzy skies

Monday, February 25, 2013
In case anyone needed further evidence that the AKP and their supporters in Turkey are running out of ideas: 
The New York Times reports on proposed new uniforms for Turkish Airline stewards and stewardesses:
Turkish Airlines in the late 1940s they wore cotton blouses under blue suits tailored to accentuate “the contours of the body,” as a fashion history of the airline puts it. In the ’60s and ’70s the trend continued with fashions straight off the Paris runway, designed to show Turkey’s European flair on its flagship airline. Now, the country’s shifting mores are reflected in a proposed new look: long dresses, skirts below the knee and Ottoman-style fez caps.
Fezzes? Well, kind of. Here's a shot:
Newspaper mash-up comparing old and new uniforms











The new uniforms are indeed pretty ugly, and I think it's indicative of movement that's becoming more and more brain-dead. Ten years ago, supporting the AKP was still a little risky, and at least some AKP supporters thought they were on the right side of freedom. Like them or not, the AKP was a party of ideas.
But what does the AKP stand for now? They've been in power a decade. Women now go to university in headscarves; religion has become much more a part of the public sphere than was the case in earlier decades; a new constitution is being written. So now what?
Apparently stuff like this. In some ways, I think, this most recent dust-up is not unlike the recent development of abortion as an issue to Turkey, although the latter is obviously far more consequential. Both cases represent, I think, a shift in priorities from a program advocating choice and democracy to something that's more obviously retrograde and limiting.
What are, after all, the issues that you move on to after ten years in power?
Predictably, loads of folks are upset because they prefer the way Turkish stewardesses look now. From the Turkish Daily Tattler:
Daily Habertürk published comments from other Turkish designers, such as the famous Yıldırım Mayruk, who said Dilek Hanif’s designs are nothing but a “joke.”

Designer Vural Gökçaylı said the clothes do not reflect Turkey. “The clothes look like they belong to Kuwait or Saudi Arabian Airlines. However, they should reflect Turkey and Turkey is not this.”
Well, now. Once again, Turkish women are being asked to represent something--national pride, modernity, Islamic piety, the list goes on. Sometimes it's men, but it's usually the women who are supposed to play the role of somebody's symbol.
More changes on the way?

This tendency, in fact,  is actually one of the few things that "Islamists" and "Secularists" in Turkey have in common: a seemingly unquenchable thirst for telling women how to dress and behave.
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