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Ayse Bohurler
Ayse Bohurler

"There are veiled women who listen to jazz, go to open-air festivals and to restaurants where alcohol is served. The preferences aren't based anymore on what people wear, but on personal and cultural taste."

Ayse Bohurler, a journalist and a founding member of the ruling AKP, is one of Turkey’s most successful female intellectuals. Bohurler, who wears a headscarf, is still a member of the AKP's highest party board. She was among the 71 AKP politicians whom the Chief Prosecutor accused (in a 2008 trial) of working against the secular order – she faced the prospect of a five year ban from politics. As she sees it,

"Within the AK Party, among the founders and in its highest board, there are liberal, more nationalist and – in addition to religious people - many people who do not have anything to do with religion. […] What secret agenda should we have? Introducing the sharia in Turkey? It does not make any sense to expect this from a party which is very liberal, adapted to the capitalist system, acts fully within the democratic framework, works within the secular law system and has brought the country closer to EU standards."

As a journalist Bohurler made many documentaries with Agency, her production company, including "Behind Walls", a 10-part series about women in 13 different predominantly Muslim countries. She recently shot a documentary on Turkish literature for the Frankfurt book fair. She runs her production company with a friend. Her colleagues are all women, but none wears a headscarf. According to her, "the co-existence of veiled and non-veiled women, of religious and non-religious people, reflects Turkey at its best."


Ayse Bohurler

October 2008

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