The Construction of Heteropatriarchal Family and Dissident Sexualities in Turkey

Type Journal Article - Fe Dergi
Title The Construction of Heteropatriarchal Family and Dissident Sexualities in Turkey
Volume 3
Issue 1
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2011
Page numbers 56-64
I do not have a positive opinion of gay marriage.” In 2010, Aliye Kavaf, the State Minister responsible for the
affairs of Women and Families, declared in an interview with the daily Hürriyet that she believes gay people are
Her declaration was a precursor of the conservative policies both Kavaf and her political party are
determined to follow at the expense of women and sexual dissidents in Turkey. Kavaf is a member of the Justice
and Development party which has been in power since 2001. This neo-liberal party with moderate Islamic tones
ardently supported Turkey's membership to the European Union. As a minister, she was the head of an
institution responsible for the well-being of women but even the name of the ministry was problematic and
telling about the underlying ideology. The ministry responsible for women and families clearly situated women
not as individuals but a part of the family institution. Until the Prime Minister, who makes insistent calls to
women to have three children, has decided to scrap the ministry and establish a new institution under the title of
"Ministry of Family and Social Policies", Kavaf’s efforts aligned with the conservation of the existing gender
and sexual inequalities. Considering that only 0.1 percent of women between the ages of 45-49 have never been
married, it would be safe to conclude that alternatives to heterosexual marriage barely exist for women.
should also note that majority of women in Turkey are married with children; at the end of their reproductive
period only 2.4 percent have never given live birth, which would not necessitate a call to women to have more
children. In order to apprehend the scope of the recent events, this article utilises the framework of sexual
orientation and the construction of heteropatriarchal family in relation to the ideology of the nation state. Kavaf’s
claim that homosexuality is an illness, the annulment of the Ministry of Women, and the Prime Minister’s call to
women to make children are the seemingly unrelated consequences of the same sexual ideology to regulate and
control individuals through the institution of heteropatriarchal family

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