Turkish women celebrate 85th anniversary of suffrage

Turkish women celebrate 85th anniversary of suffrage

ANKARA-Anadolu Agency
Turkish women celebrate 85th anniversary of suffrage

A Turkish woman votes in the local elections held in Izmir in 1935.

Turkish women on Dec. 5 marked the 85th anniversary of their suffrage in the country.

Marking the day, Family, Labor and Social Services Minister Zehra Zümrüt Selçuk visited Anitkabir, the mausoleum of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the founder of the Republic of Turkey, in the capital Ankara.

Lawmakers also marked the day with speeches and press conferences, as did women's branches of political parties, women's group and several football clubs.

In 1934, Turkish women, were among the first in Europe to achieve the right to vote and run for elected office through a constitutional amendment.

In 1930 -- only seven years after Atatürk founded the Republic of Turkey on Oct. 23, 1923 -- Turkish women were granted suffrage in local elections held that year.

Since then, women have been active in national politics, and founded the National Women's Party of Turkey in 1972 and the Women's Party in 2014.

There has been an increase in the number of women elected to parliament in recent decades.

While in 1935 only 4.5 percent of lawmakers were women, this share increased to nearly one in five legislators being women in 2019 -- despite the number of lawmakers rising from 401 to 600.

Today, there are 102 women lawmakers in the Turkish Grand National Assembly.