According to the religiously oriented Zaman newspaper, politicians are using women in order to further the ends of a political party rather than the needs of women. Women are being promised higher representation in parliament and more important roles in politics. Halime Guner of the women’s group Ucan Supurge (Flying Broom) says women are being used as tools, and political parties have pushed women to the forefront, not because they are concerned with female issues, but just to get votes. As she puts it:
“There is a contradiction here; in the political arena there are women but they are not there for themselves. They are becoming tools, the political parties or the sides of the conflict are trying to use women to oppress other women.”
She accepts that women are at least now doing something other than cook, “but are learning to shout in the streets.”
In reality, the percentage of women deputies in Turkey is only 4.6% and there is no sign this number will soon dramatically increase. The Justice and Development Party (AK) are seeking to have 25 women deputies, up from 13. Most women interested in politics prefer the Republican People’s Party, which defends the secular nature of Turkish society.
Zaman is a newspaper that represents the ideas of the AK Islamic party. Therefore, it seeks to present a view that women are being used by secularists in order to further the end goals of secularism. In a sense, they are accurate. Females in Turkey need only look at Iran or Saudi Arabia or Iraq for evidence as to what occurs when a religious oriented Islamic government takes power. Women’s rights disappear. The fight for secularism in Turkey is inextricably bound together with the rights of women, for equality, and full participation in all aspects of life. The question is whether or not the AK party is willing to accept full equality for women.
Information from Zaman