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A Matter of Honour

Tahire Koçtürk




Experiences of Turkish Women Immigrants


In Europe today there are more than 3 million Turkish workers, largely from rural areas. Nearly all of them arrived in the 1960s and 1970s, providing a cheap source of labour for the industries of Western Europe. This book examines the social and cultural impact of western industrial society on these Muslim immigrants, especially in terms of gender and family relations.


Dr Koçtürk provides a historical overview of Turkish women's lifestyles from ancient times to the 1920s, when they first received equal rights. In examining the status of women in Islamic thought the author argues that both religious ideology and the 'honour ethic' have been instrumental in the oppression of Turkish women. For modern Turkey, Koçtürk describes the lives of urban and rural, and upper and lower class women, including those in the slum areas that surround the big cities. She discusses the circumstances that led to the large-scale emigration out of the villages into the alien industrialised West.


Through interviews with Turkish immigrants, especially the women and their daughters, the author explores how these families, nurtured in a rural, Islamic tradition, have reacted to living in Northern Europe.


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