Ripple Effect of protest in Turkey felt around the globe …

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The ‘ripple effect’ from the protests springing up in Turkey is being felt across Europe. VIDEO HERE

The heavy-handed policing seen in Ankara and Istanbul has prompted a show of solidarity across the diaspora, including Germany, with its significant Turkish population.

The sentiment among those gathered outside the Turkish embassy in Berlin is clear.

“The police were too violent with the demonstrators,” said Hakan Tas, a local councillor. “There is talk of a thousand injured, some seriously. There are unconfirmed reports of deaths. We are here to show our solidarity with the people in Turkey and in Taksim Square, and that is why we are here today in Berlin.”

Around 300 people gathered in Amsterdam. They sang the Turkish national anthem and chanted words of support.

“People in Turkey are feeling the pressure under Erdogan’s regime,” said protestor Murat Bahtir. “The creeping influence of Islam, the curtailing of human rights and women’s rights, these things go against the spirit of the Turkish secular republic.”

ISTANBUL — There is a huge poster near the town hall of the Istanbul borough where I live. It shows a brunette wearing a telephone headset, cheerfully answering the municipal helpline. She isn’t wearing a headscarf.

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Why not, I’ve often wondered? The district is working class, relatively conservative and controlled by the party running the national government, which has campaigned to allow observant religious women into education and public life. The laws that are supposed to stop female public workers and students from keeping their heads covered are pretty much a dead letter these days, and in any case many municipal services are subcontracted to private companies not covered by the ban.

Which is what got me thinking that there is a better-than-average chance any woman employed by the borough as a telephone operator would be wearing a religious headscarf. So why not use this public service ad to show covered women at work, if only to encourage others to do the same?

This is not an idle question: While Turkey has a decent record of getting girls through school, it has an appalling record of getting women to work. The rate of female employment was under 30 percent last year, the lowest among all the industrialized countries in the O.E.C.D. The figure wasn’t even close to the next-lowest: more than 43 percent, for Mexico.

Spontaneous protests have also been held in Canada and the UK, as well as other cities around the world. …’

READ MORE: Andrew Finkel has been a foreign correspondent in Istanbul for over 20 years, as well as a columnist for Turkish-language newspapers. He is the author of the book “Turkey: What Everyone Needs to Know.”

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