Perhaps, the most interesting rumour in History is that Emperor Nero had played his flute while the great fire was destroying Rome in AD 64. There is no proof that the Roman king did so, when his kingdom was in a situation of utter crisis! It seems that the Romans spread the rumour in order to portray the real character of their Emperor. French Queen Marie Antoinette, too, supposedly said that “Qu’ils mangent de la brioche” (or “Let them eat cake”), upon learning that the peasants had no bread. Also, there is no official record of her having said it.
However, what happened in Tokyo last week, was not rumour! Emine Erdogan, the First Lady of Turkey, has been seen carrying a USD 50,000 handbag at a time when her country is experiencing an economic crisis. As expected, the First Lady has been strongly criticised for carrying such a costly bag.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, along with his wife Emine, recently visited Japan. People noticed the bag in her hand when Emine landed in Tokyo. The First Lady was also carrying the bag when she and President Erdoğan visited the Imperial Palace to meet the Emperor of Japan. Reports suggest that price of the bag is equal to the minimum annual income of 11 Turkish nationals!
Currently, Turkey is facing an acute economic crisis, with sky-rocketing commodity prices creating deep trouble for the common people. Still, the First Family is seemingly enjoying a lavish lifestyle! As a result, President Erdoğan and his wife are facing the ire of frontline Turkish dailies… mainly because of their exhibition of such extravagance! The major Turkish dailies recently reported that the economic crisis had touched a new low in August 2018, and people across the country were yet to get rid of that crisis. The Erdoğan Administration has also failed to lower the rate of unemployment. The media have predicted that the unemployment rate would surpass all the previous records, if the government fails to tackle the situation on an urgent basis. Critics are also unhappy with the newly built 1,150-room Presidential Complex, as they believe that the move has certainly put the exchequer under tremendous pressure.
The First Family
It is to be noted that Emine had triggered controversies in the past, as well! In 2016, she had described the Harem (domestic spaces that are reserved for the women of the house in a Muslim family) of the Ottoman Era as an “educational establishment that prepared women for life”! Speaking at an official event on Ottoman Emperors in Ankara, the First Lady had said that “traces, left by harem women in the empire’s six centuries of history, could be ‘an inspiration’”.
Meanwhile, Turkish historian Ayşe Hür stated that Emine Erdogan’s comment that harems provided women with education were not true. “Do not forget that it was closely associated with the institution of concubines, who were slaves, part of the system of slavery prevalent in that period of the Ottomans. Behind closed doors, many human dramas played out in the Sultan’s harem,” stressed the Historian… Hür further said that “Women’s education in the harem was mostly limited to knowing how to act in the Sultan’s presence, how to raise children, and play musical instruments for leisure”. He insisted: “In my view, the truth is somewhere in the middle. The harem was neither a school, nor a hotbed of depravity. We can say with certainty that the harem had no special, systematic and broad education system.”
The First lady spotted carrying costly handbags
The critics have strongly criticised the Erdoğan Government for trying to impose strict Islamic values on Turkey, and also for curtailing the Civil Rights of Women. In recent past, the President urged the Turkish Women to have at least three children, branding efforts to promote birth control ‘treason’!
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