Politicians discriminate, not to my face: Boyner

Politicians discriminate, not to my face: Boyner

ISTANBUL - Hürriyet
Politicians discriminate, not to my face: Boyner

‘I’m not interested in politics. NGOs should be powerful and independent for Turkey’s democratization,’ Boyner says. AA photo

Ümit Boyner, the outgoing president of the Turkish Industrial and Business Association (TÜSİAD), has harshly criticized politicians for sustaining a discriminatory stance against women in their statements about her. “They have done this to all women… playing to the audience, but the things they talk about behind my back require courage to tell me in person,” she said during an appearance on local broadcaster Skytürk.

Boyner, who is supposed to be succeeded Jan. 17 by Muharrem Yılmaz, chairman of the diary firm Sütaş, confronted the severe criticism she drew from several groups throughout her three-year presidency.

“I didn’t meet them in private later on, but I think it would require courage to behave that way to me in person. To do that in public is easier for them,” she added.

Unfair for all women
Boyner said that although she tried not to get personal, she better realizes the inequalities and discriminations women in Turkey face. “This is an issue that women and men need to combat side by side.”

She also said that in Turkey, all criticism is taken personally and this hinders transparency in society. “Turkish society disapproves of public discussion on certain subjects, but actually civil society doesn’t work like that. People perceive our opinions as the political stance of the association and think there is a secret meaning behind them. This is because we haven’t become an open society yet.”

When asked whether she considers pursuing politics, she said, “Most of the former TÜSİAD presidents were asked about this. I think the requirements of getting into politics and of working for a non-governmental organization are wholly different. I’m not interested in politics. As I see it, NGOs should be powerful and independent for Turkey’s democratization. There are enough politicians in Turkey; I think enhancement of NGOs is the necessity.”

Boyner faced a number of disputes with some Cabinet members, the fiercest being with Deputy Prime Minister Bülent Arınç.