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Diverse Turkish Women (3:52) Excerpt from film "Turkey's Tigers", August 2006
This clip compares two families in Turkey - one more religious, and one more secular.

Country: Turkey

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Guiding Questions
  1. Compare and contrast the home lives of the two families depicted in the clip. What are the differences? What are the similarities?

  2. In this clip, the older of the two women is the more conservative one, and the younger woman is more secular. Should we draw the conclusion that religious conservatism is "old-fashioned"? Given other information given in this clip and your prior knowledge, is Turkey's youth becoming more secular or more religious?

  3. This clip demonstrates two very different families, with different values, living side by side in Turkey. Where else does this happen? What tensions might emerge in a society as a result? Brainstorm strategies that Turkey's government could use to minimize tension between different societal groups.
Background Essay
Two very distinct women, the conservative wife of a fashion mogul and the secular daughter of a competing fashion mogul, offer glimpses into their very different lives. Tensions between secular and Islamic trends in Turkish society are showcased in several ways - a handshake between Mustafa Karaduman and an unrelated female model creates tension at home, while Ipek, the young woman living a more secular lifestyle, worries that the growing economic power of "fundamentalists" like Mustafa Karaduman and his family will lead to an increasingly Islamic Turkish state.

Turkey is located in a part of the world that was once called the Near East. For centuries it was a link between Europe and Asia. Its main city, Istanbul (previously called Constantinople), was a trading, religious, and social hub. Both Christianity and Islam have had major influences on the development of Turkey's culture.

In the early 1900s Turkey experienced a period of rapid economic and social change. In 1923, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, a popular leader in Turkey's military, declared the establishment of the Turkish Republic. He launched an aggressive program to modernize and secularize the country, which brought about many changes. Turkey has modernized its economy and is poised to become a member of the European Union. Simultaneously, religious and political leaders are working to preserve traditional Islamic aspects of Turkey's culture while embracing some of the West's attitudes and practices. Turkey's future stability and growth will be determined by how well it can incorporate the rich heritage of its past into its goals for future.

One of the industries that is confronted with this change is the garment industry. Some women in Turkey choose to wear traditional Islamic garb, while many others choose to wear non-traditional Western attire. What does this mean for business leaders in Turkey? What does it mean for female consumers? In the Turkey that is evolving, will there be room for both the past and the future?

Karaduman makes sure the more conservative traditions of Islam are respected at his home on the outskirts of Istanbul.

Zulfiye Karaduman
I got married when I was sixteen. We never saw each other before we got married. I was thinking: Is this an old man, is he blind, is he lame? I never saw him. I thought about it so much and I was very worried.

Mustafa Karaduman
Look, today there's almost two pages filled with our story.

This is Tuğba.

Zulfiye Karaduman
When she's covered, she's very pretty, but...

Mustafa Karaduman
I wouldn't want a woman to shake my hand. I would've wanted to have flowers in my hand and greet her that way, but I didn't want her heart to be broken. It's not good for a woman's heart to be broken.

Zulfiye Karaduman
Is this all new?

Mustafa Karaduman
They put it in the newspaper without letting me know.

Zulfiye Karaduman
Of course, I get jealous and I don't want it. I wouldn't want him to open up that much. Because I love him, I get jealous.

Although his store adjoins Tekbir, Yalçın Ayaydın, the owner of Ipekyol lives a family life that is a world apart.

Yalçın Ayaydın
You are entering the Yalçın Ayaydin Mansion.

This is Ipek.

I'm his daughter.

This is my room.

As the daughter of a fashion mogul, Ipek has everything in her closets.


These are my bags, shoes.
This is my skirts...

Everything, that is, except headscarves.

I don't need that. It's not useful.

This is my report card

In the first term, I had four "ones".

In Turkish education there is 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5.

Five is the best. Zero is the worst.
OK, I am going to take my report card to my father...

Yalçın Ayaydın
She passed, but passing does not mean learning well.

My goal is for my daughter to get 5, 5, 5, 5.

I want to be a fashion designer, so I have to pick my grades up.

Yalçın Ayaydın
Ipek will be a designer at Ipekyol. That's our goal,

I want to say something: the guys in Tekbir, they're fundamentalists, right? They're saying when they're economically stronger, they'll want to change the country, to make it more Islamic. They want people to cover up.

Yalçın Ayaydın
They can make that kind of world for themselves, but they can't make such a world for the whole country. The state won't let them do that.

Related Links
Turkey's Tigers on PBS.org

CIA World Factbook: Turkey

Turkish Cultural Foundation

BBC World Service: Religions of the World: Islam

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