Meet Mahinur Özdemir Göktas, the Only Woman in Turkey’s New Government

2023-06-04 05:42:47

She is part of the new cabinet of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who won the presidential election last Sunday and was sworn in for a new term on Saturday.

Mahinur Özdemir Göktas, who has dual Belgian-Turkish nationality, is the only woman in the Turkish government. She started at the municipal level, in Schaerbeek, where she was elected municipal councilor in 2006 under the colors of the cdH (now Les Engagés). In 2009, she then won a seat as a Brussels deputy, still for the humanist party.

His swearing in with his head covered with a scarf did not go unnoticed and sparked long debates on the wearing of religious symbols in a political assembly. The member of Turkish origin was then supported by the former president of the centrists, Joëlle Milquet. The accession of Benoît Lutgen to the presidency of the cdH had however changed the situation. Relations between the MP and the party leadership were strained until her exclusion in 2015 for her difficulties in clearly acknowledging the Armenian genocide.

Mahinur Özdemir Goktas had continued her regional and municipal mandates as an independent elected representative. The elected official had then been in discussion with the PS, before finally announcing that she would not appear at the municipal elections in 2018 or the regional elections in 2019.

She then left Belgian political life before becoming, in January 2020, Turkish ambassador to Algeria.

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