One's sex is never just one's own. Our sex participates in creation, God's inestimable gift. Wherever religion seeks to shape social life, sex is always a space of acute concern, a battlefield. Turkey, like many countries where Islam and blue jeans are both ascendant, is in the midst of a war over its citizens' sex. The stakes are much more than the conditions of access to pleasure. Manhood, modesty and divinity are all at stake.
Whatever their real names, they are known in Turkey as Natashas, and often end up working as prostitutes in this country's growing sex trade, sometimes against their will. Turkey, with its now booming economy and lax visa requirements, is becoming the world's largest market for Slavic women, one of the most visible exports of the former Soviet Union's struggling new states. Most of the women come of their own free will but many end up as virtual slaves, sold from pimp to pimp through a loosely organized criminal network that stretches from Moscow to Istanbul and beyond. Prostitution is legal in strictly secular Turkey, where the government licenses brothels, known as "general houses," and issues prostitutes identity cards that give them rights to some free medical care and other social services. But women working in general houses -- there is usually one in each large city -- tend to be older, and the demand for young, slender women has outstripped supply as Turkey's economy has improved.
Women in Turkey continue to be the victims of rape and honor killings ; furthermore research by scholars   and government agencies  indicate widespread domestic violence in Turkish population. Despite Turkey being a patriarchal society, there are many historical records of Turkish women involved in public life and activism. Women in Turkey also face significant disparities in employment, and, in some regions, education.
One thing I have wanted to write about for a while in this column is the view of sex and dating in Turkey. I have watched mostly foreign and some Turkish friends grapple with dating and all its highs and—more often—lows, and have become endlessly fascinated with the subject. Although it is not something I have to partake in, it is a subject that fascinates me. A Turkish male friend once told me that one night stands are not really a thing, and especially not for women no big surprise there. Another Turkish male friend told me that although men and women can be friends, growing up in large mixed-sex friendships groups is a lot less common than in other parts of the world.