Wednesday, September 30, 2009

I'm reading Roksolyana by Osyp Nazaruk, a fictional account of Hürrem Sultan's life, written circa 1929 (UKR, available online in .txt format).

Interesting to learn that Crimean Tatars' female slave trade didn't really affect Ukrainian nuns:

[...] For even the wild Tatars respected the nuns and stepped out of their way with reverence, calling them "the girls of the wondrous [gâvur] Prophet who died on the cross." [...]

Also, interesting to learn that Ukrainians back then believed that Tatars - "the dirty monsters" - were "born blind, like dogs."

On a different note, Marta has a friend here whose dad happens to hate Turkey and the Turks - possibly, because he's very patriotic or something, he sort of explained to me today. We were talking about real estate in Istanbul, and, for some reason, he felt it necessary to make this disclosure. At the same time, he spoke of Moscow with awe, so I guess he meant some kind of a Pan-Slavic patriotic feeling, not exclusively Ukrainian. Then again, he spoke of Greece with awe, too, so maybe it's the Orthodox Christian thing. Or both. I didn't bother asking him to explain some more, because people who believe that "patriotism" is about hatred really bore me. It's kind of funny, though, that his daughter is spending much of her life with a nanny who is half-Uzbek, quarter-Tatar and quarter-Bulgarian, and whose son's father is Jewish and daughter's father is German.

Anyway, while I was writing all this, I got reminded of this story:

Customers help stamp out Turkey's sex slaves

By Meriel Beattie in Ankara
December 28, 2005
The Independent

An unlikely hero has emerged in Turkey to rescue victims of forced prostitution: the brothel customer.

While the country's security forces are hardly renowned for their attention to human rights or sympathetic treatment of women, they have been chalking up impressive successes in finding and freeing trafficked women from brothels.

In the past six months, 100 women - mostly from Ukraine, Moldova, Romania or Russia - have been rescued from sex slavery and Turkish police have broken up 10 trafficking networks.

There are two reasons for these results. A charge-free hotline was set up in May by the UN's International Organisation for Migration (IOM) for women to call for help. It is staffed by multi-lingual operators who try to pinpoint where the women are - and then send in the police.

But the second, more unexpected, factor is the chivalry of the Turkish brothel client. Since the hotline started, 74 per cent of tip-offs have come from men: customers who have learned to spot the difference between a professional prostitute, and someone who's been forced into it. [...]

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