22 October 2013
During last week’s Islamic holiday, Turkish media outlets widely covered the allegations in the American press that Hakan Fidan, Turkey’s top spy, had shared secret U.S. and Israeli intelligence with Iran.
Then, an even more lurid story emerged: Three years after the “halal” online sex shop opened in the Netherlands, Turkey got its “halal” sex shop on the world wide web. (“Halal” refers to everything that is lawful and permitted in Islam.)
A quick browse through “Helal Sex Shop” shows a modest interface, an affordable range of products (that is, nothing too kinky), and, of course, separate entrances to the site for men and women. The e-halal-sex-store also offers a few advice columns for those who want to enjoy the pleasures of this world without jeopardizing their chances for the next.
But reactions on social media, as well as the coverage and commentaries in the news media, have been stranger than the e-store itself.
Barın Kayaoğlu is finishing his doctorate in history at the University of Virginia. He was recently a Smith Richardson Foundation fellow in International Security Studies at Yale University. You can follow him on Twitter (@barinkayaoglu) and Facebook (Barın Kayaoğlu).