Turkey set for parliament with highest woman representation ever
DHA PhotoAll four parties represented in Turkish parliament, except the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), have increased the number of their women deputies, thus labeling the 25th term of parliament as one with the highest number of women deputies in Turkey’s history of democracy.
In the previous election, 79 women made their way to parliament, while in the June 7 election, 97 women won a seat at the male-dominated parliament.
Out of those 79 women, 46 of them were from the ruling AKP, 19 from the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) and three from the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), while 11 of them were elected as independent candidates for the Labor, Democracy and Freedom Bloc supported by the Peoples’ Democratic Party’s (HDP) predecessor, the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP).
This time, the AKP was able to send 41 women deputies to parliament, while the HDP enhanced the number its women deputies the most. Having passed the 10 percent threshold in order to become represented as a party at parliament, the HDP increased its women deputy number to 30.
In the new assembly, the CHP will have 22 seats for its women deputies, while the MHP will only have four.
The HDP, which has the strongest representation of women, proved its gender policy promises with the votes they received.
According to the incomplete election results, with the HDP’s garnered 6 million votes, 40 percent of the HDP’s 80-deputy parliamentary group is women. With this representation, the HDP has turned its words into deeds, as it has long claimed to have been the only party in Turkey with a 100 percent gender parity policy for all positions.
According to HDP rules, a man and a woman must share the chairpersonship. The HDP’s co-chair system ensures that a man and woman share all positions, from deputy chairpersonship to mayoral positions.
A variety of women deputies
There are many female newcomers whose identities and backgrounds herald diversity in the new parliament.
From the AKP’s women deputies, Ravza Kavakçı is the sister of Merve Kavakçı, a lawmaker of the now-defunct Virtue Party (FP) who was expelled from the General Assembly in 1999 for wearing a headscarf.
Leyla Şahin, who took Turkey to the European Court of Human Rights for the headscarf ban at universities, is also among the AKP’s newcomers. In its 2005 ruling, the top court found no contradiction in the law when a university banned Şahin from attending classes for wearing a headscarf.
The CHP’s new Istanbul deputy Selina Doğan is of Armenian origin and practices law as an attorney.
On the HDP’s list, it is Dilek Öcalan who draws attention, as the niece of the jailed leader of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), Abdullah Öcalan.