Number of female lawmakers in parliament not enough: Turkish president

Number of female lawmakers in parliament not enough: Turkish president

Number of female lawmakers in parliament not enough: Turkish president

The number of female lawmakers is 104 in the 600-seat Turkish Parliament, which corresponds to 17.5 percent of the total number of MPs, but this is not enough despite being one of the highest in history, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has said.

“This figure is 17.5 percent of the Turkish Parliament. It set a new record, but it is not enough,” President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said at the 3rd Women and Justice Summit.

On the role of Turkish women in politics, academia and other fields, he said women’s labor force participation rate had gone up since his ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) came to power in 2002.

Speaking about the increase, Erdoğan announced that women’s participation in the labor force increased from 28 percent to 38 percent during their tenure, and the number of women in the labor force increased from 21 percent to 30 percent.

“In Turkish universities, almost half the academics—at least 44 percent—are women,” he said.

According to statistics provided by Erdoğan, 44 percent of architects and lawyers, 31 percent of judges and prosecutors, more than 20 percent of diplomats, 56 percent of teachers and 51 percent of bankers are women. Erdoğan said the percentage of women in public employment was 38 percent.

“The 9.12 million women in the workforce strengthened our country and made us proud with their successes,” he added.

The religion of Islam does not justify any form of gender discrimination, the president stressed.

“As members of a faith [Islam] which sees each human being, beyond all their differences from gender to color, as a creation of Allah, it is not possible for us to discriminate against women,” he said.

The president praised women as an indispensable element of family and business life, saying that families are shaped by the joint efforts of women and men in Turkish culture and Islam.

“An understanding that isolates women from business life and men from home harms the family concept at the very beginning,” he said.

The president also said Turkey should look at its own history and culture to improve its position on humans, women, children, and animal rights, as opposed to those of Western countries, which, according to him, are harmed by contested discussions on them.

Erdoğan accused the West of commodifying women, saying women were sold and forced to work throughout the centuries. “It is not surprising for us that the mentality that used women as a commodity in the past uses women with the same concept under the guise of equality today,” he said.

Speaking at an Istanbul Medeniyet University department opening ceremony, Erdoğan said universities were “cleared of terrorist organizations that transformed some universities into militant training camps.”

Claiming universities have been modernizing since his party took power in 2002, Erdoğan said the “fascist mindset of the Feb. 28 [1997] period” in universities were mostly removed, referring to a so-called “post-modern” coup that ousted Turkey’s first Islamist-led government.

“Our universities are now freed from the oppressive and unliberated atmosphere of the status quo,” he said.