“Turkish Women’s Rights under Threat: Erdogan’s Policies and the Battle for Equality”

2023-05-28 17:58:00

Progressive women see their rights restricted by the Turkish President Erdogan and his policies. Another term could worsen this situation.

This is all the more contrary to Turkish housewives, where Erdogan is very popular. After the 2018 election, around 60 percent of housewives surveyed said they voted for Erdogan. This is a peak among all social groups.

The President and his AKP party maintain a highly religious-conservative world view. Women are reduced to looking after the household and children. This is exactly what seems to appeal to devout Muslim women. According to “Spiegel”, a woman said at one of Erdogan’s campaign events: “Erdogan has done so, so much for us women.”

“Erdogan gave Turkish women freedom,” says another. In 2013, he banned students and public sector employees from wearing a headscarf. The weakening economy is causing headaches, but the current president is the “only leader we have in this country”.

On the other side of the spectrum, however, there are already fears of a victory over challenger Kemal Kilicdaroglu. Some young, progressive women are seriously considering leaving the country if Erdogan wins.

The 25-year-old Irmak Kocar told the “Spiegel”: “As a woman, I don’t feel safe now, it sucks.” People would stare at her holding hands with her boyfriend. Colleagues would have looked funny because the two live together unmarried.

Progressive women’s groups are trying everything on social media to prevent Erdogan from winning a runoff. However, the results of the first round of elections leave little room for hope.

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