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How a kick rattled Turkey

Turkish women take to the streets to denounce conservative pressures after a young nurse is assaulted on a public bus for wearing shorts.
Women walk past by shops at an open air bazaar near the Grand Bazaar, known as the Covered Bazaar, in Istanbul, Turkey, June 14, 2016. REUTERS/Murad Sezer - RTX2G65X
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A young Turkish woman, Aysegul Terzi, was attacked by a man on an Istanbul public bus earlier this month for wearing shorts. According to security camera footage and witness accounts, the man, identified as Abdullah Cakiroglu, shouted, “Why are you going about in shorts!” He then told the 23-year-old nurse, “You are the Satan,” and kicked her violently in the face. Terzi says the other passengers remained silent and the driver dumped her at the first stop. She went first to the hospital, and then filed a complaint with the prosecutor’s office. The alleged assailant was caught and booked for “actual bodily harm” before walking free. He was soon re-arrested, but only after widespread outcry over his release.

Thus far, the story is almost ordinary for Turkey, where Terzi is neither the first nor the last woman to be attacked for what she wears or says, or simply for being present at a particular place. Scores of women before her have faced similar treatment, and only a few days later a woman was punched in the face by two men in Izmir after rejecting their advances, which, according to reports, were “emboldened” by her low-cut dress.

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