While many around the world celebrated International Women’s Day as a progressive movement towards equality between men and women. Six pro-government newspapers in Turkey on Monday, called for a campaign against what they called enemies of the call to prayer, referring to women who jeered during the adhan coming from a nearby mosque during a celebration of International Women’s Day in Istanbul on Friday.
The controversy followed comments by Turkish President Tayyip Erdoğan on Sunday, who accused women who participated in Friday’s International Women’s Day march in Istanbul of being disrespectful to Islam, labelling them enemies of the Islamic call to prayer and the Turkish flag.
“They disrespected the adhan by slogans, booing and whistling,” the president said in the southern province of Adana after showing video footage from the incident to the crowd at a campaign rally for March 31 local elections.
Several thousand women converged for the annual Women’s Day march in Istanbul on Friday, but were met with tear gas fired by the police who tried to disperse the crowd.
Women who participated in the March responded to Erdoğan’s accusations on Twitter, saying they were chanting and whistling as part of the demonstration and did not target the call to prayer, which began during their protest.