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Tales from the Bosporus

Turkey's new Islamic government has not been welcomed by the country's westernised professional women. Maureen Freely, who went to school in Istanbul with the children of the cosmopolitan elite, remembers their past enthusiasm for the anti-imperialist struggle and the price they (and she) had to pay

By Maureen Freely   December 1996

Modern turkey has a tradition of women from the elite classes excelling in the professions. So it came as no surprise to me when Tansu Ciller, a graduate of the American College for Girls in Istanbul, became Turkey’s first woman prime minister. I, too, attended the American College for Girls in the late 1960s, while my father taught physics at Robert College, the neighbouring American university. Many of my classmates now hold top positions in business and academia. They are angry with Ciller for allowing Necmettin Erbakan, the Islamist leader, to become prime minister earlier this year. Back in 1970,…

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