A new fashion has arrived to accompany the alcohol-soaked beach resort hedonism of Turkey’s Mediterranean coast. Alongside bare-breasted Scandinavian tourists, women sporting the latest designer burqinis splash in the waves and build sandcastles with their children. A burqini is the crossover between a burqa, the traditionally modest Islamic dress, and a bikini. The innovative combination of these two seemingly irreconcilable articles of clothing represents the interwoven contradictions that comprise modern Turkey.
In recent years, Turkish politics has taken a culturally Islamic and economically neoliberal direction. The ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) which came to power in 2002 espouses a brand of Islam that embraces Western-style capitalism. This represents a stark departure from the Turkish Republic’s strictly secularist roots.