Turkish woman joyously celebrating end of lengthy divorce goes viral

A video posted by a Turkish woman that shows her dancing to celebrate the end of three and a half year divorce proceedings went viral on social media on Friday. 

İnci Akbay, a young woman form the western province of Izmir, hired a band to play “Erik Dalı”, a Turkish folk song that is usually played in wedding parties, to celebrate the end of her lengthy divorce.

In the video, Akbay first releases white balloons into the air, then starts dancing with her friends while the band plays the song.

Many on social media joined Akbay’s celebrations by sending videos to her showing people dancing with the same song. 

“Despite of the massive anti-divorce propaganda in Turkey which leave women in abusive marriages, there are women like İnci Akbay,” said Dilara Gürcü, a women’s right activist, on Twitter. “Divorce parties should definitely become a thing.” 

“Separation and divorce are often lethally dangerous for women in Turkey, where ex-partners will continue and even step up abuse,” said another Twitter user.

Nearly 40 percent of Turkish women face physical or sexual violence from an intimate partner, according to the United Nations, while 409 Turkish women were murdered by their partners or family members in 2017, a 75 percent increase from 2013, according to the watchdog group We Will Stop Femicide.

Turkey was shaken in August by a video showing a murder victim being stabbed by her ex-husband numerous times in front of their daughter. The clip showed the victim Emine Bulut, her chest covered in blood from the stab wounds, crying “I don’t want to die.”

Turkey has been seeing a record number of divorces, as both women and men look for a way out of unhappy and sometimes abusive marriages. But the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) has been pushing a conservative agenda in recent years, promoting family values and taking steps to discourage people from getting a divorce.

The Turkish parliament is soon expected to examine the demands of some men’s organisations that want scrapping women’s rights to alimony. Such a move will turn more women into prisoners in unhappy and abusive marriages, women’s groups say.