To the market you don’t wear glitters

(photography by Allard de Witte, sharpness of the pictures is being worked on!)

There are headscarves and headscarves. Take a look at the market in Ürgüp, a medium size village in central Turkey. 

Decoration 

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Habibe Akkaya (16): “The scarf I’m wearing now is from rather slippery material, so I’m wearing a tight cloth underneath to keep the scarf in place. I don’t want it to slip down all the time. But the cloth underneath is also decoration: I have these cloths in different colours and brown suits my outfit today. In Turkey, it’s not allowed to wear a headscarf to school. Luckily I live in the Netherlands and there it is not a problem. I wouldn’t go to school if I could not wear a headscarf.”

Glitters 

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Birgül Fidana (38): “It’s quite warm today, so I’m wearing a cotton headscarf. I have synthetic ones as well, but really, I would get too hot with that today. I have many different scarfs, and today I wear it like women in this region wear it traditionally. This one is also good for the market. I mean, I have scarfs with glitters and nice embroidered sides, but they are for special occasions like weddings. To the market you don’t wear glitters.”

Democracy 

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Ayşe Şen (45): “I am religious, but I also love Atatürk, the man that founded the Turkish republic. Atatürk separated state and religion and I think that’s very important in a democracy. So that’s why I wear this small hat with his picture on it, with the text ‘Atatürk we are with you’. I bought it at a big pro-Atatürk demonstration in Ankara a few months ago. By the way, I don’t wear the headscarf because I’m religious. It’s tradition here and I want to fit in.”

Honest

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Nurten Kiziltepe (52): “More modern women don’t cover their mouth, but I do, just because I’m used to it. In the early days every woman did it like me. Now you also see a lot of religious headscarfs, they are much tighter. I am religious, but I mainly wear the scarf to hide myself from men. To be honest, I should not even have my picture taken and show myself this way. My husband would have never approved of it. But he passed away, so now it’s okay.”

White

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Kezban Çetinkaya (55): “The greenish cloth underneath the scarf I also wear at home. It’s tradition, it’s just what you do, and I also wear it because it’s part of my religion. Whenever I go out, I put another cloth over the thin cloth I wear at home, and today I picked a white one. Not that I pick something else all the time, I just wrap something around my head and that’s it. Some women have tens of scarfs, I have only four” 

Play 

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Esma Toker (18): “I’ve been wearing a scarf for about a year now. I read more and more about my faith, I talked to the imam in the Dutch town of Heerenveen, where I live, and then slowly slowly you move towards wearing a headscarf. Faith says you have to, my hair has to remain invisible. Occasionally I wear a hat instead of a scarf, but I like spending time in front of the mirror to play with the scarf till I think it looks beautiful. You know, this world is a test, and the more things you do that are part of religion, the more chance you have to go to heaven.” 

Wine 

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Gülcen Sarkaya (43): “I want to be accepted in the village where I live, so I wear this cloth. I wear it loose, and there’s no need to cover my neck. I am a modern woman and not very religious. My husband and I work in the wine industry: he makes wine and I sell it in our shop. Some people think it’s a funny or strange combination: a woman with a headscarf as saleswoman in a wine shop. But it’s not strange at all, it’s just how we earn a living.”

Prophet 

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Fatma Özçelik (24): “The scarf has to cover all of the hair, so I wear a band underneath to make sure no hair comes out. The band also keeps the scarf in place, if I don’t wear it the scarf slips away all the time. I like to wear a scarf, but it’s also compulsory in Islam. The Koran says so, the prophet commands it. But I also like to look good. I have many different scarfs, so every day I can choose one that suits the rest of my clothes.”  

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