MEPs urge improvement of women’s rights in Turkey

A report on 12 January 2007 reveals that MEPs believe there is still much progress to be made.

Socialist MEP and rapporteur Emine Bozkurt said: “There are 40 million women in Turkey and they would like to have equal rights. The intellectual and economic emancipation of the 40 million women living in Turkey represents an important opportunity for themselves, for Turkey and the EU. That is why I believe it is so important to make efforts to include women in all aspects of life and to protect them from discrimination.”

The own-initiative report is not formal legislation, but sends out a clear signal and demonstrates the Parliament’s commitment.

The report follows up on the findings of the previous report by Bozkurt and outlines the developments and the areas in which MEPs believe that more effort is needed:

  • Combating violence against women, including honour crimes;
  • in providing more shelters for victims of domestic violence;
  • towards setting up a standing committee on women’s rights in the Parliament;
  • for the provision of data on the situation of women in Turkey, and;
  • that a firm anti-discrimination policy should be provided to give women full access to education and the labour market. 

Another critical point is the low political participation of women, particularly with regards to the upcoming elections in May and November 2007.

“Women’s rights are one of the major issues in the framework of Turkey’s accession to the EU. The prospect of EU membership strengthened and accelerated the efforts to improve women’s rights on the Turkish side.” She therefore urged both sides to “keep their commitment to this process”.

Bozkurt judges the improvement of women’s rights in Turkey “a success”, but also says that “the Turkish woman in the street does not yet fully profit from the legislative changes”.

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