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Turkey's first lady praises Ottoman harem

Notice how the BBC incorporates the outraged Tweets to show that "many Muslims" disagree with this idea. The BBC is careful to ignore that the women in the harem would almost always be slaves, and the male slaves guarding them would have been castrated (against their will). No mention of how many black slaves died during this brutal enforced castration. Imagine the BBC being so dispassionate about someone extolling the benefits of castrating black slaves on American plantations. To the Leftists, Black Lives Matter only when it's a chance to attack white (western) values.


The wife of Turkey's president has described the harem of the Ottoman era as an "educational establishment that prepared women for life," reports say.

Emine Erdogan was speaking at an official event on Ottoman sultans in Ankara, say Turkish TV stations.

Her comments came a day after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said a woman was "above all a mother" in a speech to mark International Women's Day.

Family members, servants and concubines all lived in the imperial harem.

The sultans who ruled the Ottoman empire had a harem at Istanbul's Topkapi Palace, which has been a museum since 1924.

The sultan spent his domestic life in the harem, where his wives lived, as well as female family members and concubines, who numbered into the hundreds.

Male staff were eunuchs.

Read more: Ottoman Empire 1302-1922

Mrs Erdogan said the harem was a school for members of the Ottoman dynasty.

Traces left by harem women in the empire's six centuries of history could be "an inspiration", she said, according to Turkish media.

Concubines kept in the harem did receive some training and were well fed, and they were not all used for sex. However they were not free to leave the palace if they wanted to.

Some Turks were quick to criticise the first lady's comments on social media.

"Receiving education in harem doesn't make it a school. This is nonsense,"tweeted @GaziCaglar, saying there would have been about 400 concubines in the sultan's harem.

"If the Ottoman harem was a scholarly institution then why were the men who worked there castrated?" asked @anlam75.

"Those who mention harem do not send their daughters to anything less than American universities," tweeted @kizmonot, a reference to the fact that both the Erdogans' daughters studied at Indiana University:


Tweet in Turkish from @kizmonotImage copyrightTwitter / @kizmonot


But some - including pro-government journalist Ceren Kenar - pointed out that Mrs Erdogan is correct to say that women were educated in the harem:


Tweet from @cerenkenar reading Image copyrightTwitter / @cerenkenar


Mr Erdogan sparked anger in 2014 when he said "women and men are not equal".

His comments on Tuesday about the role of women led to street protests in Istanbul.

Contact Peter McLoughlin

Email pmclauth a t gmail . com

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