The representation of women in the Turkish Grand National Assembly (TBMM) has increased by 56 percent after this year's parliamentary elections compared to the results of 2007. 78 out of a total of 262 women candidates became members of parliament.
The Turkish parliament has a total of 550 seats. Hence, the ratio of women representation increased from 8.72 to 14.2 percent. 472 male members of parliament represent 85.8 percent.
50 women became members of parliament with the previous elections on 22 July 2007. Kurdish politician Aysel Tuğluk was deprived from her status as member of parliament by the decision of the Constitutional Court; Özlem Çerçioğlu, MP of the Republican People's Party (CHP) was elected mayor later on. Thus, the number of women representatives in parliament decreased to 48.
The last session of the parliament before the general elections on 12 June was attended by 30 female members of parliament of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), 8 of the CHP, 2 of the far-right Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), 7 of the pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) and one of the Democratic Left Party (DSP).
The AKP had 78 women on their list of member of parliament candidates, the CHP 109, the MHP 68 and the Labour, Democracy and Freedom Block had 13.
According to unofficial results, 45 AKP women candidates were elected from the AKP, 19 from the CHP, 3 from the MHP and 11 from the Labour, Democracy and Freedom Block. In 43 provinces, no female candidate was elected.
Aydın: Worst case scenario has come true
Çiğdem Aydın, President of the Association for Support and Education for Women Candidates (KA.DER) assessed the situation as follows: "Our most pessimistic forecast has come true".
"We are sad that our most pessimistic prediction has come true. When the women candidates are not being placed in the appropriate places on the list, the result is not going to change regardless of the number of women candidates.
Sad but not hopeless
KADER had launched a campaign during the run-up to the elections demanding "275 female members of parliament for an equal representation, true democracy, a new constitution and for overcoming obstacles". However, Aydın said that despite her disappointment, she was not hopeless.
"Some of the elected women candidates were members of parliament in the previous term, others have been elected for the first time related to their close connection to women issues. I hope that we will be able to do effective work in the new term with their support".
50 percent women's quota for management staff
Aydın pointed to the design of a new constitution as one of the most important duties waiting for the newly elected members of parliament. "A constitution that does not consider the demands of women is unacceptable. A constitution that anticipates de facto equality of women is a must for us".
Aydın also mentioned the newly established Ministry of Family and Social Policies. She reminded the fact that the Ministry for Women and Family Affairs was closed despite the objections made by women and that the Ministry for Equality did not take their demands into account either.
"How is the Ministry of Family and Social Policies going to define its duties; who is going to be appointed and how are women issues going to be positioned within the structure of the ministry - these are the things that are of our biggest concern", Aydın explained.
Aydın listed the women's other expectations for the new term in parliament as follows: "A constitution that focuses on the individual instead of the state; enforcing the Law on Equality; amending Law No. 4320 on the Protection of the Family according to the women's proposals; having at least 50 percent women in the managerial staff of the ministries and a 50 percent women quota for managerial staff of councils and governorships". (BB/VK)