The pro-Justice and Development Party (AKP) daily Turkiye published on Aug. 13 a controversial column titled “Figen Yuksekdag and Women of Cancerous Souls.” Figen Yuksekdag is the female co-chair of the pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP). Targeting the image and reputation of Yuksekdag, the piece reinforces strong prejudices against left-wing women among the Turkish political right, particularly Islamists. It states that leftist women lose their femininity, dress tastelessly and try to act like men to be considered equal — hence their incessant rough, violence-advocating rhetoric. Trying to identify the source of this male anger, the column argues that these women suffer from ugly duckling syndrome and suppress their libido. Then the piece takes a rather insulting turn against Yuksekdag's personality and claims she is advocating violence because she has not been with a man. Twisting Yuksekdag’s own words about her personal life choices from a candid interview, the offensive column declares all leftist women are “bigoted, irrational and despotic.”
This is only the latest example of pro-AKP media attacks on female socialists; it is not an exception. Indeed, the AKP’s Ankara mayor, Melih Gokcek, is notorious for his constant verbal clashes with left-wing female parliamentarians. Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc recently told a parliamentarian from the HDP to “shut up as a woman” on live television. Similarly, several times women parliamentarians from left-wing parties have become victims of physical attacks from right-wing male deputies during parliamentary sessions.