Emine Bozkurt, a Turkish-born Dutch member of the European Parliament urged the Turkish government to take significant steps toward ensuring more women are members of the Turkish parliament. At present, only 4.4% of Turkish MPs are female. She pointed out when asked, Turkish political leaders claim they want enhanced female representation, but the reality is scant movement in that direction.
Although Turkish women were among the first females in the Arab world to attain the right to vote and serve in public office in 1934, the past seventy years have not witnessed an aggressive stance to move in that direction. Bozkurt suggested Turkey might benefit by establishing a quota for female representation.
Bozkurt’s aim runs smack into the dilemma facing the Erdogan government. Erdogan claims he wants Turkey to be a modern Muslim-controlled nation, but within his party there are powerful groups which seek to maintain traditional female behaviors of subordination to males. Erdogan wants to lead Turkey into the European Union, and in so doing he will have to resolve the female dilemma. Turkey cannot be a member of the EU if women are held in subordinate positions. He really is confronting a basic question: Is it possible to have a modern Islamic-oriented government which create a balance between western style rights for women and traditional values as those espoused by conservative forces within Turkish society?
Information from Turkish Daily News