Best presidential candidates for Turkey ever
BELGİN AKALTAN - firstname.lastname@example.org
Polls will open at airports and border gates on July 26. DHA photoTurkish people will go to the polls on Aug. 10, 2014 to elect their president for five years. This president will occupy the position and symbolically – or maybe literally, if the Constitution is amended according to the wishes of one of the candidates –rule Turkey until the year 2019. The opposition parties Republican People’s Party (CHP) and Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), as well as smaller opposition parties, have announced their joint candidate as Ekmeleddin İhsanoğlu, and Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is the ruling Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) candidate. Selahattin Demirtaş is the candidate of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP).
İhsanoğlu and Erdoğan both seem to be good candidates. So is Demirtaş. But the third one is Kurdish, so he doesn’t really count. (THIS IS A JOKE. JUST LAUGH.) As a matter of fact, I think Demirtaş is the best candidate, but I told you, he is Kurdish. (KIDDING AGAIN.)
Anyway, I am proposing three more candidates whose CVs are surprisingly similar to the current ones. Their names are similar too: Emel İhsanoğlu, Tayyibe Erdoğan and Sabahat Demirtaş. They are all women. Sabahat is Kurdish and, yes, she counts.
Emel İhsanoğlu was born in Cairo, Egypt. Her mother, from the Central Anatolian province Yozgat, worked at the queen’s palace in charge of the Ottoman and Turkish archives.
She grew up in Cairo with Arab and Islamic culture, as well as teachings from her mother on Turkish literature. While studying chemistry in Cairo, Emel also worked at the National Library in Cairo. She earned her Master’s degree in organic chemistry and completed her doctorate studies in Al-Azhar University.
In 1970, she came to Turkey for the first time in her life and started working at Ankara University’s Science Department. Two years later, she married a pharmacist, Ziyaeddin İhsan. She became an assistant professor and then full professor in 1984. She joined Istanbul University Department of Science and later formed her own department on History of Science.
She has organized many conferences, symposiums, international meetings on history, art and culture. She was the director of the Research Center for Islamic History, Art and Culture. Professor İhsanoğlu has been the Secretary General of the Organization of the Islamic Conference from 2004 to 2014.
She is fluent in English, Arabic and also speaks French and Persian. She has three children.
Tayyibe Erdoğan was born in Istanbul, at the not-so privileged district of Kasımpaşa. Her parents were from the Black Sea province Rize, her father was in the coast guard. The family moved back to Istanbul when Tayyibe was 13-years-old. She graduated from an imam-hatip school, a religious vocational high school.
As a teenager, she sold lemonade and simit (Turkish bagels with sesame seeds) on the streets of Istanbul to earn extra money. She studied business administration at Aksaray School of Economics and Commercial Sciences, which later became part of Marmara University.
She was also a semi-professional football player from 1969 to 1982. While she was a student, she was engaged in politics by joining the National Turkish Student Union, an anti-communist action group.
In 1976, she became the head of the Beyoğlu youth branch of the Islamist National Salvation Party (MSP). That same year, she was promoted to the position of chair for the Istanbul youth branch of the party.
She was elected Mayor of Istanbul in the local elections in 1994. She was banned from politics and was sentenced to a 10-month prison term in 1997. She served less than four months in prison and established the Justice and Development Party (AKP) in 2001.
Tayyibe Erdoğan married her husband Emin Gülbaran from Siirt in 1978, whom she met at a conference. They have two sons (Ahmet Burak, Necmeddin Bilal) and two daughters (Esra, Sümeyye).
Sabahat Demirtaş was born in Palu, Elazığ into a Zaza-speaking Kurdish family. She became the chairwoman of the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) in January 2010.
She graduated from Ankara University Law Faculty. She is on the Board of Directors of the Diyarbakır Branch of the Human Rights Association (İHD). Sabahat Demirtaş was elected to the Turkish Parliament in as an MP for Diyarbakır.
She is married and has two children. In September 2010, she was sentenced to 10 months in prison for alleged links to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), but her sentence was postponed.
Come to think of it, this does not happen anywhere in the world. Maybe in Scandinavian countries, I don’t know, is it possible to have all three candidates being female? I wonder what kind of a world we would live in if women were given equal opportunities with men, starting from their mothers and grandmothers? If we had a country where three female candidates ran for the office of presidency, how different would Turkey’s environment be? How happy would I be?
These are the three imaginary alternative female candidates. What about their husbands? I don’t know who their husbands are and also who cares?
Well, yes indeed, I was inspired by the iconic article “I want a wife” by Judy Brady.
My God, who wouldn’t want a wife?