Ataturk's Daughters

Ataturk's Daughters


Though founded upon Western secularist principles, Turkey has not been immune to the Islamic fundamentalist upsurge of recent years. Nowhere is Ataturk's legacy more pointedly challenged, the author shows, than in heated public struggles over matters affecting women and their status as full and equal citizens.

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On a fine April evening in 1994, a conference at the Women's Library in Istanbul is drawing to a close. In the courtyard of the converted Byzantine basilica, 20 or so women, mainly academics and other professionals, prepare to leave after a day of discussions marking the fourth anniversary of the institution's founding. A sliver of moon rises over the Golden Horn, whose waters twist their way through this old, lower-class neighborhood.

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