Opposition leader listens to female rights groups

Opposition leader listens to female rights groups

ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News
Opposition leader listens to female rights groups

A group of women, including Fadime Göktepe (R), mother of an assassinated journalist, listen to CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu (not pictured). DHA photo

The leader of the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) met yesterday with the representatives of women’s organizations to listen to their views on the current state of affairs in Turkey concerning women’s rights, receiving his share of criticism.

The representatives of NGO’s asked for more concrete policies from the CHP in many areas, from preventing the murders of women to increasing female participation in the labor force.

Drawing attention to the CHP’s motto, “The women of this country will change Turkey,” Gülsüm Kav of the platform to stop the murders of women said, “In order for women to change Turkey they first need to stay alive; this is an emergency issue.” Although Kılıçdaroğlu was unequivocal in his opening statement to stand against violence against women and criticized the state for not being sensitive enough, Kav asked for the CHP’s support to tackle the problems in the implementation of the law to protect women.

Another demand raised to the CHP concerned the upcoming local elections. The CHP’s 33-percent quota for females is not that functional if women are placed at the bottom of the list of candidates, Çiğdem Aydın, head of the Association for the Support of Women Candidates (KA-DER), said. Aydın’s request for the zipper system, alternating male and female names on a list of candidates, did not receive full acceptance from Kılıçdaroğlu, who answered, “we will apply the zipper system but not as alternating male and female, one by one, but by placing women on the lists where they can be elected.”

Kılıçdaroğlu criticized women as well, asking them to be more active in political life.

Be political: Kılıçdaroğlu

The solution process to the Kurdish problem was also raised in the meeting, as female participants voiced criticism on what appears to be inconsistencies in the CHP’s messages. Journalist Çiğdem Mater likened the CHP to Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, saying, “We are talking about the new CHP and we know those new members that want to change the CHP. But we also see people like Birgül Ayman Güler [whose statements about Turks and Kurds had sparked controversy].”

“As there are few platforms left in Turkey to raise criticism, please don’t show any resentment to us,” said one of the female activists, in clear appreciation of Kılıçdaroğlu’s patience and understanding.