by Saudi filmmaker Samir Aref, ‘Boxing Girls’ is the screenwriting debut of
Afnan Alqasimi, and stars a slew of well-known names in Arab entertainment,
including Fatima Al Hosani, Ali Al Sherif and Shaifan Al Otaibi. — Courtesy
Girls Should Not Be Forced To Wear A Hijab At School Simply Because Of
Pressures At Home, Head Of Ofsted Says
Portraying Arab Women as Victims, Leading Saudi Filmmaker Says
Singaporean Woman Civil Servant Converts to Islam, Father Approves
Female Circumcision, It Has No Medical Benefit, Say Sisters in Islam
Sisters’ Deaths in New York Ruled Suicide
Top Court To Decide On Asia Bibi Appeal On January 29: Lawyer
Future Policewomen Brave Winter For Training
Vogue Can’t Identify Muslim Girls, Why Not Hire Someone Who Can?’
Of Spirits Cuts Across Faiths To Empower Flores Women
Dubai’s First Female Stunt Bike Rider
Russian Female Running for Mayor of Turkish City
by New Age Islam News Bureau
Saudi Women Take Centre-Stage in Brand-New TV Drama, ‘Boxing Girls’
Dhabi — MBC Studios is unveiling ‘Boxing Girls’, a brand-new Arabic-language
drama produced by O3 Productions and twofour54 Abu Dhabi.
by Saudi filmmaker Samir Aref, ‘Boxing Girls’ is the screenwriting debut of
Afnan Alqasimi, and stars a slew of well-known names in Arab entertainment,
including Fatima Al Hosani, Ali Al Sherif and Shaifan Al Otaibi.
program places young people at the center of the gripping story, as well as
behind the scenes.
with both O3 Productions — which falls under MBC Studios — and twofour54 spent
two months shooting in Abu Dhabi across locations in the UAE capital, before
moving to Riyadh to complete the second phase of production.
well as the series benefitting from twofour54’s award-winning production and
post-production services and facilities, it also was able to take advantage of
Abu Dhabi Film Commission's attractive 30% rebate on production spend.
Eid AlMheiri, CEO of Media Zone Authority, Abu Dhabi (MZA) and twofour54, said:
“This drama production is particularly unique, because it puts a real emphasis
on the region’s young talent — both in front of and behind the camera.”
Girls’ also stars Mila Zahrani, Abdul Aziz Skeirin, Alaa Shaker, Dana Al Salem,
Anoud Al Saoud, Abeer Sander, Noura Ezzer, Mohammed Meshaal, Rakan, Zuhair
Haider and Zara Al Balushi. It is set to debut in February 2019, on MBC
channels. — SG
girls should not be forced to wear headscarves in schools just because they are
facing pressures from their families, the head of Ofsted has suggested.
Spielman, the chief inspector of Ofsted, made the comments as she was grilled
by MPs about Muslim primary school children being questioned about hijabs
follows a recommendation by the schools watchdog in 2017 that officials should
ask girls who wear garments such as hijabs “why they do so in school”.
Spielman last year publicly offered her backing to the headteacher of a primary
school when she faced a backlash for trying to ban the youngest Muslim girls
wearing the hijab.
evidence to the Public Accounts Committee, Ms Spielman was questioned by Labour
MP Shabana Mahmood about why pupils who are simply trying to look like their
mothers should be scrutinised by state officials.
replied: “My concern is that children at school should be free from the
pressures that exist in many communities outside of school.
know that some children are feeling pressurised to wear headscarves, that it
can make children unhappy to be told they are not good because they are not
wearing a headscarf.
is something that is difficult and is contested, but I don’t think we can say
that children should simply be ‘allowed to look like their mothers’ is the
Spielman said she would write to the committee to provide further detail about
how Muslim schoolgirls were questioned by inspectors on the issue.
Ofsted chief also stuck by her assertion that schools should enforce a
“muscular liberalism” and not allow religious groups to influence the
curriculum at the expense of others.
cited the example of Yesodey Hatorah, a Haredi Jewish secondary school in
Hackney, east London, where female pupils had their experience “shut down quite
also see claims that the protection given to religion should get priority over
all the other protected characteristics," she said, in reference to the
arguments that are advanced, for example, by Haredi schools essentially are
saying religion should justify not having to have regard for the Equality
Saudi Arabian filmmaker Haifaa al-Mansour has a message for Western audiences:
stop seeing Arab women as victims.
the women of her region as strong and resilient is one of the missions of her
highly-awarded films, al-Mansour — who is one of Saudi Arabia's most famous, as
well as most controversial directors — told CNBC's Hadley Gamble during a panel
at the World Economic Forum in Davos on Wednesday.
it's coming from the region, or internationally, I really enjoy portraying
strong female protagonists, women who don't see themselves as victims,"
all the scripts I get, Muslim and Arab women are all victims and sad, and
things are happening to them — and it's like no, we're very sassy. We're very
strong. Don't take us for granted."
opposed the stereotype that "Arab women are not in control of their
destiny," while adding that "sometimes they are not, because of
family ... but that does not take their soul, and that does not take who they
are as people, as fighters, with a strong will to survive and to succeed. So
that is a huge misconception, we are way more than who they think we are as
is Saudi Arabia's first female filmmaker and the country's most well-known.
Coming from a country known for its highly conservative interpretation of Islam
and austere rules surrounding women's lives, her work, which shines a light on
the lives of women in the Gulf, was hailed as groundbreaking. Her feature
debut, Wadjda, which premiered at the Venice Film Festival in 2012, was the
first to be fully shot in Saudi Arabia as a feature-length film and the only
one filmed in the country by a female Saudi national.
this week was honored with the WEF's Crystal Award, along with conductor Marin
Alsop and naturalist Sir David Attenborough, as an "exceptional cultural
leader" and a force for positive change.
the director didn't deny the hardships of being a female artist in the
conservative Gulf country — or in general. Al-Mansour received death threats
and criticism from the more hard-line elements of Saudi society, and
acknowledges that women often have to work harder than men to prove themselves
in a place where the workplace has always been dominated by men.
general public in the Middle East is not used to women in positions of
leadership, so they need support to push them and cultivate their existence...
so they have that now, it's up to them to take it to the next level, show the
general public they can succeed," she said. "And it's a lot of work —
and maybe a woman will have to work twice as hard as a man, which is really
frustrating. But hopefully the next generation of females entering the
workplace don't have to work as much to prove themselves and to prove that we
can succeed and handle the responsibility."
make up about 22 percent of the Saudi workforce, according to official
statistics, a figure the government aims to bring to 30 percent over the next
Arabia has seen significant liberalization as part of the government's Vision
2030 program, intended to open up the country and diversify its economy away
from oil. A decades-long female driving ban was lifted last year and movie
theaters were reintroduced to the country. But serious concerns remain over
issues like the country's male guardianship law, as well as the fact that
several female activists remain in prison for their efforts in bringing about
some of these very changes. Regional observers welcome the kingdom's moves
toward more modern gender laws, but maintain that there remains significant
work to be done.
JAYA: A Singaporean civil servant won praises after she wrote a post on
Facebook about her father understands reaction to her conversion to Islam.
the post, 29-year-old Li Jinghan, her 60-year-old retiree father Lee Soon Koon
was recounting the time when he was collecting an item purchased over Carousell
from a Malay seller last week in Singapore.
seller was surprised when Lee turned up and told him that he was expecting a
Malay person to pick up the item. The seller was also surprised when he learned
that Lee allowed his daughter to convert to Islam.
asked: “Why is everyone so shocked when they know I let you convert?”.
this, Li replied: “Cos you very rare la! Most parents don’t let mah."
the post, Li also asked her father why he allowed her to convert.
reply in Chinese was that he did so because he understands life.
understand the pursuit of happiness. What’s the purpose of life? To seek
happiness," he said.
said what parents want most for their children is for them to be happy.
religion teaches good. If you tell me that this religion makes you happy, why
should I stop you?” he added.
who now goes by the name Nur Jihan Li, wrote that her father was "so
simple, yet so profound".
lot of what he says is almost common sense; it doesn’t take a lot for anyone to
come up with what he said," she wrote.
doesn’t struggle with what society thinks, what our relatives would think, (or
even) how it would mean (now) I can’t eat his favourite BBQ with him anymore.
sole concern was really just my happiness," Li wrote.
said her father was a man of his word.
post received over 10,000 likes and was shared over 4,000 times.
contacted by The Star, Li said this was not the first time she had written
about her father on Facebook.
time, he would visit me about once a week. But since my father moved, he lives
closer to me. Now, he is able to see me and daughter anytime," she said.
also sincerely wished people would show kindness to each other regardless of
Darlyne Chow and Ainaa Aiman
LUMPUR: Female circumcision does not have any medical benefit and must be
stopped, women’s rights groups said today, adding that the practice is still
prevalent in certain Malay communities.
in Islam executive director Rozana Isa said the practice was nothing more than
a cultural tradition.
is a cultural tradition. It is something that we can change because culture can
change for the betterment of women and girls,” Rozana said at a press
conference after the launch of a report on gender equality.
along with other women’s rights groups, urged the health ministry to educate
people about the practice not serving any medical purpose.
added they would welcome engagement with the ministry and also relevant
religious bodies towards implementing a policy to protect Malaysian girls from
Mary Shanthi Dairiam, founding director of International Women’s Rights Action
Watch Asia Pacific (IWRAW), said even though the practice in Malaysia might not
be harmful, it perpetuated a “harmful ideology” that women were not equal to
may not be seen to be harmful, but there may be an ideology behind it that
perpetuates the inferior status of women. And female genital mutilation comes
in this category.
may seem like a minor thing – it doesn’t hurt, it has no repercussions, it has
no harmful effect on the body – and therefore, some people may be questioning
why we want to get rid of it,” she said.
bigger issue, she said, was the belief that female circumcision would prevent a
woman from having sexual urges and “going wild”.
is very, very dangerous. It shows that women and men are not equally valued,
and it perpetuates that inequality.”
and Shanthi were speaking on the sidelines of the launch of a gender equality
report called “The Status of Women’s Human Rights: 24 years of CEDAW in
Malaysia” coordinated by the Women’s Aid Organisation (WAO) and the Joint
Action Group for Gender Equality (JAG).
refers to the UN’s Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination
Against Women (CEDAW).
the chairman of the Parliamentary Select Committee for Rights and Gender
Equality, Nor Azrina Surip, said female circumcision was often misunderstood as
female genital mutilation.
added that female circumcision in Islam was allowed, but not mandatory.
it is a tradition only in some parts of Malaysia. However, a lot of Malays do
partake and have placed it as something that must be done.
understand their concerns, but the practice in Malaysia is not female genital
mutilation,” she said.
also argued that the method of female circumcision practised in Malaysia was
not as extreme as genital mutilation, whereby some part or the whole external
female genitalia, including the labia and clitoris, are removed.
medical operation is minor and often does not draw blood,” she said.
The deaths of Saudi-born sisters Rotana Farea, 22, and Tala Farea, 16, in New
York’s Hudson River last October were the result of drowning by suicide, said
the office of the city’s chief medical examiner, Dr. Barbara Samson.
office determined that the death of the Farea sisters was the result of
suicide, in which the young women bound themselves together before descending
into the Hudson River,” Samson said in a statement.
two bodies were discovered by a passer-by just before 3 p.m. on Oct. 24. The
New York Police Department (NYPD) said police responded to a 911 call and “upon
arrival, officers discovered two unidentified females unconscious and
unresponsive with no obvious signs of trauma.” Emergency personnel declared
them dead at the scene.
official at the Saudi Embassy in Washington refuted an Associated Press (AP)
claim that the mother of the sisters said she had received a call from the
embassy requesting that the family leave the US because the daughters had
communications with the mother had nothing to do with a supposed asylum claim,”
the Saudi official told Arab News.
NYPD denied releasing any information regarding an alleged asylum request. The
family declined an Arab News request for comment.
Pakistan's Supreme Court will decide on January 29 whether to allow an appeal
against its acquittal of a Christian woman at the centre of a blasphemy row, a
lawyer involved in the case said Thursday.
the court refuses to allow the appeal, it will remove the last legal hurdle
facing Asia Bibi, who is a prime target in conservative Muslim-majority
Pakistan and remains in protective custody.
was on death row for eight years for blasphemy, a hugely sensitive charge.
Supreme Court's decision in October last year to overturn her conviction
ignited days of violent demonstrations, with enraged Islamists calling for her
beheading, mutiny within the powerful military and the assassination of the
country's top judges.
government has since launched a crackdown on the Tehreek-e-Labaik Pakistan
(TLP) party -- the Islamist group driving the violent protests -- charging its
leaders with sedition and terrorism.
authorities also struck a deal with the protesters to end the violence, forming
an agreement which included allowing a final review of the Supreme Court's
January 29, "the court will determine if our appeal against her acquittal
is admitted", Ghulam Mustafa Chaudhry, the lawyer who filed the petition
seeking an appeal, told AFP.
the court decides on the same day if the appeal is admitted or not," he
Pakistan's creaky legal system any private citizen can petition the courts on
any matter of public interest or human rights, as in the Bibi case.
legal experts said it would be highly unusual for the Supreme Court to overturn
its own decision, especially one that as carefully drafted as the Bibi ruling.
is very rare," lawyer Saad Rasool told AFP.
three-member bench that will hear the petition will be headed by new Chief
Justice Asif Saeed Khosa, considered the country's top expert in criminal law
and who helped draft the decision to acquit Bibi.
continues to be a massively inflammatory issue in Pakistan, where even unproven
accusations of insulting Islam can spark lynchings.
40 people are believed to be on death row or serving a life sentence for
blasphemy, according to a 2018 report by the United States Commission on
International Religious Freedom.
cases see Muslims accusing Muslims. But rights activists have warned that
minorities -- particularly Christians -- are often caught in the crossfire,
with blasphemy charges used to settle personal scores.
has been rife since Bibi's acquittal that an asylum deal with a European or
North American country may be in the works.
allegations against her date back to 2009, when Muslim women accused her of blasphemy
against the Prophet Mohammed, a charge punishable by death under the
case drew the attention of international rights groups and swiftly became the
most high-profile in the country.
Benedict XVI called for her release in 2010, while in 2015 her daughter met his
successor and the current head of the Catholic Church, Pope Francis.
drop below zero but few among the 168 Afghan women flinch as they brandish
their pistols before a mock raid. It is just another morning of training for
cadets at the Police Vocational Education Center in central Turkey's Sivas.
With a determined look on their faces, the women take a dive against mock
bullets in a simulated shootout and have to crawl on chilling snow to reach for
their rifles left by their instructors a few hundred meters away.
they complete their six-month training that started last November, they will
become new additions to the police force of Afghanistan, a country where the
fragile security situation is one of the main problems. Some 3,353 Afghan
police officers completed their training in Turkey, courtesy of a security
agreement between Turkey and Afghanistan in 2011 and 1,213 among them are
they are nearly 3,000 kilometers apart, Afghanistan and Turkey enjoy close ties
dating back to the early years of the Republic of Turkey. Turkey was the first
country to open a diplomatic mission in Kabul in 1921 and both Muslim-majority
countries maintain deep cultural ties dating back to the Turkic rule of
Afghanistan up to the 12th century.
employment of female police officers is relatively novel in Afghanistan where
women were shunned from such tasks during the period of Taliban rule. The
number of female police officers still remains low compared to their male
colleagues, but Afghanistan seeks to enroll more female police officers in the
face of the ongoing Taliban threat and crimes against women.
from Afghanistan, Turkey offers training for law enforcement officials from
various countries, mostly developing or underdeveloped ones. Turkish Cooperation
and Coordination Agency (TİKA), the leading state-run agency for development
aid, organizes the training projects in cooperation with the Turkish National
Police. TİKA last year trained 564 policemen and policewomen from countries
ranging from Azerbaijan and Macedonia to Ecuador, Yemen and Mongolia. The
project, which has reached out to some 8,000 people since it was launched in
2007, covers all aspects of police training, from VIP protection to risk
analysis in drug crimes, from cybercrimes to sharpshooting and how to detect
magazine Vogue had to apologize after misidentifying a Muslim activist featured
in its latest issue. Avoiding such gaffes may be as simple as diversifying its
staff, an American Muslim author told RT.
magazine got into an embarrassing situation after putting the wrong name next
to a photo of Libyan-American journalist Noor Tagouri. The botched caption is a
common problem with “misrepresentation and misidentification” of Muslim women
in the US media, the journalist said.
Al-Khatahtbeh, the founder of muslimgirl.com, a blog about what it’s like to be
a young Muslim woman in a Western culture, told RT that the “surest way that we
can regulate mistakes like this is by hiring people of color and placing the
mic in the hands of people we’re reporting on and the stories that we’re trying
tweeted a video of herself excitedly opening the magazine to see her feature –
but captured her reaction quickly changing to disappointment upon realizing
that the fashion magazine had used the wrong name.
its apology, Vogue promised to “be more thoughtful and careful” in the future,
noting, as if in excuse, that it understood that there was “a larger issue of
misidentification in media — especially
among nonwhite subjects.”
said that her team had specifically made sure to send an email to Vogue before
publication to ensure the content and caption for the feature were correct. In
a lengthier post on Instagram, Tagouri called out the magazine and said it was
not the first time that she had been misidentified by the media, explaining
that it was a “constant problem” she faced as a Muslim woman. “As much as I
work to fight this, there are moments like this where I feel defeated,” she
was dangerously misidentified last year online as the wife of Pulse nightclub
shooter Omar Mateen, which led to online harassment.
suggestion that more people should be hired from minority groups, which
Al-Khatahtbeh communicated to RT, was also voiced by an anonymous Vogue
employee, who said the incident “never would have happened” if there had been
any people of color in leadership positions. The former employee accused the
magazine of having a “deep-seated discomfort with diversity” which “permeates
through every inch of their DNA from the top down,” she said in a scathing
interview with Fashionista.
the "House of Ancestral Spirits" in central Flores Island in East
Nusa Tenggara province, Christian and Muslim women sit side by side weaving
colorful fabrics to keep a traditional craft alive and support their families.
as Sa'o Pipi Tolo in Indonesian, this thriving small business is the brainchild
of Gregorius "Gories" Mere, a Catholic ex-cop who now serves as a
presidential adviser on security.
is helping to bridge the rift between women of different faiths while boosting
the local economy and raising the stature of a "signature" product to
represent the cultural identity of those who live on the island.
woven cloths in Flores are known for their good quality, but the industry here
is not well organized. The cloths are made sporadically at people's homes,
which makes them hard to find," Mere told ucanews.com.
also sell for low prices, so only people with strong business connections can
make a profit," he said.
by his daughter to invest in the industry, he set up his business in the
central part of the island, which is mostly Christian, last year for women with
traditional weaving skills from Nagekeo, Ngada, and Ende districts.
said there was a need for a base to facilitate production and help them market
their products better.
daughter Jessica came to him after visiting the village of Tonggo, where Mere
was born. She has spoken with local villagers, listened to their stories, seen
the symbols of Christianity some were producing, and been by the natural beauty
of the place. She urged him to get involved and help out.
Nusa Tenggara has a population of 5.2 million. Some 89 percent are Christians,
mostly Catholic, with Muslims making up the remainder.
said his goal is to see women's weaving groups in the three districts earn more
money from selling these traditional cloths.
dozens of women from different locations have a central location where they can
produce a variety of styles. This makes it easier for buyers to source their
goods rather than having to hunt and forage all over the island.
of the handmade cloths takes many hours to produce and sells for around
US$20-25. Mere said this is below the market price and that he is confident
they can earn more as they become more organized.
not fair. They deserve more than that," he said, pledging to help market
their products at national and international markets.
Vinsentius Sensi Potokota, who cut the ribbon on the center in December 2018,
praised Mere for taking the initiative.
archbishop said he expects it will play a significant role in empowering both
Christian and Muslim women in the archdiocese.
he has done inspires us pastors to do something concrete to help these
women," the prelate said.
is also a place to showcase religious tolerance through the art of weaving,
which is a part of Flores' cultural identity."
ensure the products are of high quality, Mere hired Alfonsa Horeng, a leader in
the industry, from the neighboring district of Sikka.
work has been recognized by the Ministry of Tourism and Creative Economy and
she has exported her handmade fabrics to many countries.
said woven fabrics from Flores are often used for cultural events, and also as
a form of local heritage that bonds people together, and it must be
preserved," she said.
Lutwina, who represents weavers from Nangaroro in Nagekeo district, described
the center as a dream come true and said it is enabling women to experiment
more creatively with their patterns and designs.
we focus on the kind of designs that are typical to our area, but these can be
added to a variety of collections," she said.
goal is to have our products reach a wider scope of buyers, both at a national
and global level," she said.
Don Bosco, the chief of Nagekeo district, said the facility has paved the way
for this industry to "get to the next level."
Tuga, the architect who built the center, said he designed it to reflect
traditional homes in Nagekeo, which have roofs made of cogon grass.
began with a special ritual to invoke the spirits of people's ancestors to
protect those working in the house, he said, in explaining the name.
The city’s very own sports hub XDubai has just unveiled its latest star
performer, global stunt biker Sarah Lezito.
an online video that was uploaded on Wednesday, 26-year-old Lezito can be seen
performing various stunts at the new island destination Bluewaters – home to
the world’s world's largest observation wheel.
part of her debut, the French athlete showcases her world-famous skills,
performing technical stunts that include stand-up wheelies, dead-spins, drifts and
circle combos with Dubai’s impressive skyline as her backdrop.
the video, Lezito’s identity remains hidden as she speeds along the island,
making her way through residential, retail and hospitality areas to meet
friends at Caesar’s Palace Bluewaters Dubai.
Javad, General Manager of XDubai, said: “As an athlete at the top of her game,
Sarah shows us what it means to defy your limits and we couldn’t think of a
more fitting location than Bluewaters to officially announce that she is part
of the XDubai family”.
XDubai, Lezito is the first motorcycle stunt rider and one of six women
currently signed by the action sport brand.
started honing her craft in her native France at the age of 13, and is one of
the only female athletes competing at the highest levels in what is considered
to be a male-dominated sport.
a historic first, a Russian-born female is running for mayor of the Turkish
resort city of Alanya.
has been a long road,” Anastasia Petrova Cetinkaya told Al-Monitor in
explaining how she decided to run for mayor in the March 31 election. “Three
years ago I got this idea. Two years ago I started to write my election
Cetinkaya, 36, was born in Murmansk, a port city on the Barents Sea in the far
northwestern part of Russia. She graduated from two universities — one in
Murmansk and the other in Oslo, Norway, where she studied political science.
After graduation, she returned to her hometown, where she worked for a while as
a business development manager at a foreign company. In 2010 Petrova Cetinkaya
moved to Turkey, where she and her Turkish husband are engaged in the printing,
design and branding business. She speaks five languages — Russian, English,
Norwegian, Turkish and French — studies Arabic and plans to master Chinese.
Petrova Cetinkaya also writes for local newspapers.
is a resort city in Antalya province in Turkey’s Mediterranean region. More
than 30,000 foreigners live there, including Germans, Russians, Ukrainians,
Iranians and Iraqis, among others. Thus, being a candidate with foreign roots
does not appear to be a problem for Petrova Cetinkaya. However, she says that
first of all she is a Turkish citizen and that she would be elected as a
Turkish citizen by other Turkish citizens. She promises to improve local
people's lives and create new jobs.
program includes more than 40 proposed projects that seek to improve local
citizens' living conditions, increase tourism and implement a number of
infrastructure and environmental projects. The slogan of the election campaign
is "Change To Be," which calls for, first of all, personal
have no printed election brochures. Everyone asks why? I can explain. Every
year billions of printed brochures are thrown away. It’s just useless garbage.
So, we decided not to do that. We are widely represented on social media.
Everyone can easily find us there,” she told Al-Monitor.
Cetinkaya is campaigning as an independent candidate but doesn’t deny that in
the future she could join some political party. However, at this point she
prefers not to show her political sympathies.
the mayor candidate says tourism is not a top priority of her campaign, she
calls for dramatically increasing tourist flow to 6 million in the next five
years. Currently around 2 million tourists come to the city annually.
the last two years Alanya has been the most popular destination for Russian
tourists who come to Turkey, according to Russia’s online service for finding
and booking tours Travelata.ru. Daria Toropova, head of the client department
of Travelata.ru, said Antalya's popularity can be explained by low cost.
prices are lower there as Alanya is the farthest resort from Antalya Airport.
Another factor affecting pricing is that Alanya is not as green as other
popular Turkish resorts — Kemer and Belek. As a result, 35% of all the tours
sold last year were tours to Alanya. The main advantage of the resort is the
southern location, so you can safely go there in April, and the season lasts in
Alanya until late November,” Toropova told Al-Monitor.
2018 Turkey was the most popular foreign destination for Russian tourists, with
visitor numbers rising 25%. According to Maya Lomidze, head of the Russian
Association of Tour Operators, the overall Russian tourist flow grew 8% in 2018
compared with the previous year. Visa-free travel, short flights and an
all-inclusive system are among the most important factors for Russian tourists
when they choose their travel destination.
Petrova Cetinkaya told Al-Monitor that while the all-inclusive system is good,
Alanya needs something new.
need to think big. It is important to distribute tourist flow rationally. We
should attract more tourists not only from EU countries, Russia or Ukraine but
also from Asian countries, such as China, Japan, Singapore and others,” the
mayoral candidate said. She said Alanya is not popular among tourists from
her plans is the creation of a “Turkish village” — a touristic place where
people could see what a traditional local village looks like. “It can be a
center for winter and summer tourism,” Petrova Cetinkaya said.
also wants to organize more festivals and other cultural events between Alanya
and its 12 sister cities, most of which are based in Europe.
Cetinkaya’s hometown of Murmansk is among the sister cities; due to her
personal initiative, the two cities became sisters in February 2014.
candidate said her Russian origin is not an impediment but rather an advantage
in the upcoming local elections given the current positive dynamics between
Turkey and Russia. These include stable political and economic relations,
cooperation on Syria, the two mega projects of the TurkStream gas pipeline and
the Akkuyu nuclear power plant and personal chemistry between Presidents Recep
Tayyip Erdogan and Vladimir Putin. Last year the two leaders had seven
one-on-one meetings and 18 phone calls to discuss bilateral relations and
regional developments, especially the Syrian crisis.
Cetinkaya disagrees with the position that it is difficult for women to make
their way in Turkish politics.
is a very silly stereotype about Turkey. Women are very welcomed in politics.
Look at the last general and presidential elections. Meral Aksener and her
party showed good results,” Petrova Cetinkaya said.
said she loves Alanya with all her heart.
have been living in Alanya for nine years but still every time I go somewhere
it opens something new for me here,” she said.
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