G-20 leadership to look less macho with Women-20

G-20 leadership to look less macho with Women-20

The Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) third term has been a real nightmare for free-spirited individuals.

Unless you agreed with everything said by the AKP, you have been subjected to constant bashing by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his supporters. The social, economic, political and psychological terrorizing has had devastating effects to varying degrees on the half of society who does not approve of Erdoğan.

Yet, the whole society is now affected by the negative mood which has been reigning in the country in the aftermath of the June 7 elections.

Ever since, we have not awakened to a single day when we have not heard demoralizing news.

With all the pessimism surrounding us, I was looking forward to a holiday break far away from Turkey.

Obviously it is impossible nowadays to totally disconnect, unless you throw away your telephone. Still, while taking a look at the Kathmandu post or the Himalayan I did not expect to see so many news stories about Turkey each and every day. One day (Sept. 17), the headline would be “Turkish police crack down on President Erdoğan’s opponents,” the next day the story would be about migrants in Turkey.

As an academic, Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu had grandiose visions for Turkey. Initially as a foreign policy advisor and later as foreign minister and finally as prime minister he got the opportunity to realize his vision; to reinstitute Turkey’s position as a world power.  Yet the news that comes out of Turkey cannot positively inspire even a third world country like Nepal. On the contrary, the similarities with other news stories that are printed in the Nepalese newspapers about either Nepal or that part of the world are striking. 

Next to the article published on Sept. 17 in the Himalayan, which included the detention of businessman Memduh Boydak as well as the investigation launched against the Doğan group for terrorism propaganda, you could read news with headlines  such as “26 journos held, freed,” or “Curfew lifted for Teej,” or “Criminal cases against seven front leaders.”

At this stage the readers must be thinking there was a technical error with the title of my article, as it looks unrelated to what I have written so far. No, there is not a technical error; I just wanted to underline the contradictory nature of developments in Turkey.

Sometimes no news is good news for journalists. But good news has become so scarce these days that we are longing for it. 

So, the fact that the Turkish government has decided to provide the opportunity for women to have a collective voice in the G-20 platform comes as good news; especially when this government has come under fire domestically and internationally for its conservative approach to gender equality issues. 

According to Gülden Türktan, the president of Women-20, special thanks should go to Turkey’s G-20 sherpa ambassador Ayşe Sinirlioğlu (note that the name “sherpa” comes from Nepal!) and (then) Deputy Prime Minister Ali Babacan for realizing this initiative.

I am rather surprised that the G-20 leadership waited until the Turkish presidency to have W-20 next to Business-20, Civil-20 or Youth-20. G-20 leaders have been coming together each year to find ways for economic improvement. But actually they did not have to look far for solutions. If only they could give impetus to policies that would increase women participation in the labor force, economic recovery and improvement would take place much faster. 

Alas, with too much testosterone in the G-20 leadership, it seems they have neglected to look in the right place (or have been looking in the wrong place). With W-20 on board, not only will the G-20 look less macho, it might also gain the right vision to find the right solutions.
If only they were to listen to women!