ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News
Turkey’s largest business group head Ümit Boyner says humiliating statements which insinuate the idea that rape as a natural thing has offended and hurt not only women, but all segments of Turkish society
Thousands of women recently marched in Istanbul’s Kadıköy district to protest a government initiative to ban or put stricter restrictions on having an abortion. AFP photo
The head of Turkey’s largest business group has weighed into the country’s abortion debate to condemn those who have suggested that rape is a natural, unavoidable phenomenon.
“The abortion issue, which has been a subject of discussion, and the humiliating statements which insinuate the idea that rape is almost encountered as a natural thing has offended and hurt not only women, but all segments society who have a conscience,” Turkish Industry and Business Association (TÜSİAD) leader Ümit Boyner said.
Boyner made the comments yesterday during a TÜSİAD High Consultation Council in Istanbul, which was attended by EU Minister and Chief EU Negotiator Egemen Bağış.
The TÜSİAD head said the women’s issue was one of the main matters regarding Turkey’s future.
“In recent days, the position of women, the place that women are deemed worthy of in the society, and the language and the wording that is used regarding women is scary at a minimum,” Boyner said.
Boyner said all research had shown that countries where women are not well-educated and do not contribute to the work force will lag behind in global competition. “Therefore, it is our duty to mention these subjects as businesspeople.”
The business leader said women’s place in Turkey’s economic, social and political spheres had yet to reach the desired level. Unless women are given roles equal to those of men in society, societal development and welfare, as well as the happiness of future generations, will be jeopardized, she said.
Boyner also said Turkey had to solve the Kurdish issue and draft a new Constitution if it wanted to realize its ambitious vision of greater development by 2023, the centenary of the Republic. “[The Kurdish issue] is the most difficult issue of the republican era, and it is also the problem which has forced our society to pay the biggest price if we look at the history of the last 30 years,” said Boyner. “Now we have to use common wisdom, we have to get out of the cycle of violence and adopt a rhetoric which is suitable to the realities of this age and solve the issue politically.”
She further added that a transparent resolution of the Uludere massacre, in which 34 Kurdish civilians were killed in a botched air raid by Turkish air forces last year, was a test of Turkey’s claim to be a democratic state.
Boyner said they had been given hope by the cooperation of the ruling and main opposition parties’ decision to agree on a road map to solve the decades-old Kurdish question.