"We take action both for the woman raped in Istanbul or the woman stoned to death for adultery in Iran. But this is not enough. For this is not simply women's problem, the source of this politics is the male mentality."
~ Sebahat Tuncel.
~ Sebahat Tuncel.
Hürriyet's English news is moaning over the lack of women politicians in Turkey:
The lack of political representation for Turkish women is the heaviest factor dragging on Turkey’s quest for gender equality, according to a global index that puts the country in 129th place out of 134.
The World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Index 2009 comes as a disappointment, with Turkey falling two places compared to last year’s ranking.
For a country whose NGOs, women’s groups and government are constantly launching initiatives in an attempt to close the gap, the poor ranking shows that Turkey lags desperately behind due to its lack of political empowerment and participation of women in Parliament.
The article quotes an AKP female parliamentarian, Özlem Türköne, and some other non-governmental Turkish women, but it completely ignores the one party with the largest number of women politicians for its size in Turkey: the DTP.
In the local elections of 29 March, DTP's women mayors took 14 cities (See: http://www.firatnews.com/index.php?rupel=nuce&nuceID=5302 ) and it has 8 women parliamentarians: Ayla Akad Ata, Aysel Tuğluk, Gülten Kışanak, Pervin Buldan, Emine Ayna, Sevahir Bayındır, Fatma Kurtulan, and Sebahat Tuncel. Why did the Horrible Hürriyet ignore these women politicians? Was it because they're Kurds?
What does this say about the differences between Kurdish men and Turkish men, if so many Kurdish women are able to run for public office and and succeed? Moreover, what does this say about the influence of the PKK's emphasis on gender equality on the Kurdish people?
Part of the reason for the success of Kurdish women politicians in Turkey is the fact that the DTP has a quota for women:
Gabriela Cretu (PES, RO) asked which Turkish political parties supported women's rights most. In reply, Yesim Arat pointed to the Kurdish Democratic Society Party (DTP), which has a quota for women and thus more elected women politicians than in "developed" regions of Turkey.
The idea of a quota for all Turkish parties was not addressed at all by the Horrible Hürriyet, even though the DTP parliamentarians have made proposals to impose a 40% quota for women on political parties in Turkey.
Of course the situation of Kurdish women in Turkey is still difficult. Many families still forbid girls from going to school, which is an unacceptable situation, as is the reality of "honor" suicides or "honor" murder. Living situations in the villages continues to be extremely difficult for women. Still, the Kurdish women politicians are proof that good education for girls can make a huge difference for all Kurdish women.
And I'm willing to bet that all of our women politicians had parents that supported and, perhaps, sacrificed for their educations. Not only are these women the models for all Kurdish girls, but their parents are the models for all Kurdish parents.
In the meantime, a Turkish judge has convicted Aysel Tuğluk for "spread[ing] the propaganda of a terrorist organization" for a speech she gave in 2006, in which she praised the signature campaign for Öcalan. Tuğluk's lawyer will be preparing an appeal.