Criticizing the ruling Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) approach to women, main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu devoted much of his weekly parliamentary meeting to hailing women’s struggle for rights in Turkey.
“Women are their [AKP] biggest fear. That’s why they are telling women to stay at home. Women will stay at home if they want and hit the streets to defend their rights if they want,” Kılıçdaroğlu said on April 3 at parliament in Ankara.
He started his speech by saluting the 88th year of a law that allows women to become local administrators, specifically referring to the first women to become a mayor in Turkey, Sadiye Hanım, who was elected as mayor of the northeastern province of Artvin.
“As the republic was a revolution for women, it will also be women who praise the republic with democracy in 2019,” he added, referring to local, parliamentary and presidential elections due to be held in 2019.
“We will demolish the one-man regime. We will overthrow the dictatorial administration and the dictator,” the CHP leader said, referring to President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.
“You will not insult people. You will not put pressure on them. You will ensure gender equality. You will trust the women of this country to the end. If you don’t, the women of this country will bring you down from there,” Kılıçdaroğlu added.
March of three women
Women outnumbered men at the CHP’s meeting this week, where the party’s women associations and supporters were present. In particular three women – Hülya Kurt, Dilek Taş and Nursel Karagöz – who recently completed a long protest march were in attendance.
The three women arrived in Ankara on April 3 after a 30-day protest march starting in the northeastern province of Çanakkale to raise awareness of abuse of children, women, animals and nature.
“We are honored to host them here and their honorable march,” Kılıçdaroğlu said.
“Women will bring law and justice to this country. You are the ones who defend gender equality. Women will struggle in every aspect of life, they will exist in every aspect of life. Women will provide the construction of contemporary Turkey, I am 100 percent sure of it,” he said.
As the names of prominent female figures from Turkey’s early republican history were read out, women responded by saying “present” and chanted “women on stage,” criticizing recent reports that women were not allowed to go on stage for a theater performance last week at the Turkish Parliament.
“The women of this country want to live in peace. They want this country to be a contemporary state. They want a free, comfortable life. The women of this country want an independent Turkey,” Kılıçdaroğlu said.
“The women of this country want equality, the right to speak. They want the right to become deputies, mayors, to have a voice in politics. I trust the women of Turkey,” he added.