ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News with wires
Recently launched peace talks between the state and the PKK could finally end the 30-year-old Kurdish issue, Sabancı Foundation chair says
Sabancı Foundation chair Güler Sabancı speaks at a meeting in Istanbul
The chairperson of the Sabancı Foundation, Güler Sabancı, backed Turkey’s “peace talks” to solve three-decades-long Kurdish issue, at a meeting in Istanbul on preventing child brides.
“I hope when the peace and brotherhood process is accomplished, Turkey will take off to prosperity,” Sabancı said yesterday, suggesting that regional inequality was behind a large proportion of early marriages in Turkey.
Some 32 percent of brides in Turkey are married before they turn 18, a percentage considerably higher in the country’s southeastern provinces, where it is as high as 50 percent, according to statistics from “Girls Not Brides,” a global partnership to end child marriages.
According to UNICEF, Turkey has the second highest child marriage rate in Europe, following Council of Europe
member Georgia, but the figures vary depending on the amount of data available and the region surveyed.
“The issue of child brides is a matter of human rights, development, and social change. When we take that perspective we see that there is a regional development inequality. Child brides are an outcome of this aspect. In that sense I very am hopeful for solution of the Kurdish issue and believe that this process led by the esteemed prime minister [Recep Tayyip Erdoğan] must be supported,” Sabancı said.Great opportunity
“Turkey wants a democratic, equalitarian, libertarian new Constitution. Turkey wants peace and brotherhood,” Sabancı said, adding that it was a great opportunity that Erdoğan had expressed determination to solve the problem and that he received support from the country.
If the problem is able to be solved politically, Turkey will be able to grow faster and regional development problems will end, said Sabancı, adding that this would help lead women and girls in the region to enter into the labor force.
Sabancı said primary school attendance for girls and boys was almost equal, but mentioned that in secondary education only 66 percent of girls furthered their education.
She also said the minimum age to obtain permission to get married should be increased to 18 in Turkey with the new Constitution. The present laws allow parents to officially grant marriage permission to children above 16.
The Sabancı Foundation, which is hosting this year’s three-day-long “Girls Not Brides” meeting, has supported 62 projects on the issue and has therefore touched more than 360,000 people’s lives, Sabancı stressed, adding that the foundation had provided 5.6 million liras in financial support to non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to date.
Speaking at the same event the program coordinator, Qamar Nasee, said Turkey could be an example for the Pakistan government on the issue.
“Turkish TV series are very popular in Pakistan and I believe that such series have the power to change the mentalities of people,” Nasee said.