Monday, June 2, 2008

Mixed messages

To say Turkey is full of contradictions is a cliché, but if there wasn't truth to that, people wouldn't keep saying it. And the combination of a population that's reportedly 99.8 percent Muslim with an ostensibly secular state (occasionally kept that way by force) does produce some doozies.

Last week saw liberal Turks and the European press dismayed at an article published by the government's directorate of religious affairs that recommended what it saw as proper sexual conduct for women. (Personally, I'm at least halfway there, as I've got the eschewing-perfume part down and I must say I look pretty darn cute in a headscarf.)

But while one branch of the government was advising women that they "should not show their ornaments and figure and that they should cover in a fine manner," another was promoting tourism to Turkey with this ad. Keeps life interesting, doesn't it?

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