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In order to create a joint platform for gender equality and justice, a meeting with representatives from several women’s organizations, researchers and politicians was held at the beginning of this week. The meeting was conducted on Monday, February 26, and was led by Operation 1325’s partner Gülseren Onanc, a highly-driven businesswoman, woman right activist and also member of the country’s largest opposition party CHP. Together, participants agree that all people regardless of gender, ethnicity, sexuality, language, religion and political affiliation should have the same rights.

At the meeting, a joint declaration called for action from the government, the judiciary, political parties and civil society. The list of requests is long; the government should establish a ministry for gender equality and the number of women in decision-making positions within local political bodies ought to rise. The declaration also urged the Turkish government to comply with the international conventions it has signed. The hate speech aimed at women in politics needs to be replaced with an inclusive and peaceful language. The current state of emergency need to be abrogated. All violence against women must cease through preventive methods and harder punishment. Aimed at the judiciary is the urge for a transformation; instead of consolidating the repressive, oppressive patriarchy, the judiciary should function in a way that lifts inequality. Expectations on political leaders when it comes to an increase in the presence of women in decision-making mechanisms, the parity of men and women must be legally guaranteed and implemented in political parties and decision-making bodies.They end with the agreement to create broad collaborations within civil society to gain greater impact for their ideas.

The meeting received big media coverage in Turkish media and was reported by, among others, Cymhuriet. More than 50 people participated, amongst them 14 journalists from different news papers and agencies. 

The meeting is a follow-up to a summit held this autumn, where a total of 1500 women participated. They have launched an online platform (https://cihanbilir.wixsite.com/platform) and also discussed creating a dedicated TV or radio channel to reach a wider group of women. The idea is that the meetings should return at regular intervals. Operation 1325 will continue to support this very important initiative. 

The project is financed by the Swedish Institute and SIDA. Neither have contributed to the content of the project.