S&Ds call on Turkish government to fully respect women's rights

Women's rights in Turkey

The Socialists and Democrats Group in the European Parliament today called on the Turkish government to end breaches of human rights in Turkey, especially the rights of women and children.
A conference co-organised by the S&D Group and the Global Progressive Forum (GPF) in the European Parliament in Brussels put the spotlight on women's rights in Turkey. Speaking during the debate, S&D MEPs addressed delicate issues such as child brides, forced marriages, domestic violence, honour killings, abortion rights and equal representation of women and men in all fields of life (including in decision-making bodies).
The aim of the S&D Group’s conference was to allow civil society representatives to express their views freely and to debate with S&D MEPs.

The conference was moderated by Javier Moreno Sanchez, Secretary General of the GPF and speakers included S&D Group MEPs Maria-Eleni Koppa and Marc Tarabella, Turkish parliamentarians Sakaf Pavey, Ayse Danisoglu and Aylin Nazliaka and a representative from Turkish non-governmental organisation Selen Doğan (Flying Broom).
Women rights have seriously deteriorated under the AKP government. While the AKP has been actively fighting for women to wear the scarf in public places, the government has failed to take any steps to improve conditions for women and children in Turkey. According to the Turkish Statistical Institute, 130,000 girls below 18 got married in Turkey in the last three years and 17,648 girls below the age of 15 became mothers between 2001 and 2012.
The S&D Group urges the Turkish government to immediately adopt a comprehensive policy to eradicate the abuse of women and children and to make sure that imams (Turkish civil servants) who perform child marriages are held to account and jailed.
Maria Eleni Koppa MEP, vice-president of the EU-Turkey Joint Parliamentary Committee, said:
"The situation for women in Turkey has been steadily deteriorating during the last 10 years. This was even more visible in the context of the social uprisings of 2013, in which they rallied together, under the spotlight, to play an important role.

"To advance the cause of women’s rights in Turkey, the focus should be on shaping a new majority, not streamlining, polarising and deploying the faithful of secularism against the infidels of religious fanaticism.

"The EU, in collaboration with various Turkish partners, must strive to bring about change in this sector (among others), if the idea of Turkey joining the European family is ever to become a reality.”
S&D Euro MP Marc Tarabella said:
“We reiterate that violence against women and children is totally incompatible with European values and we call on the Turkish government to fully respect human rights, including the rights of women and children. Turkey must respect the fundamental principles of secularism and democracy.”