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Turkey has to do more to improve women’s condition, says MEPs

[European Parliament, Brussels, 27 March 2012] If Turkey wants to be seen as a model for the Arab spring countries, it should continue with reforms, including improving the fight against discrimination and violence against women, says the European Parliament Committee on Women’s Rights in a resolution approved on Tuesday. The vote follows a visit of a committee delegation to Turkey last February.

Emine Bozkut (S&D, NL), rapporteur on the resolution on women in Turkey and member of last month delegation to Ankara, said the visit was "very successful". Particularly, she stressed: "the newly appointed Minister for Family and Social Policies really wants to change the society", mentioning a new law to better implement protection orders as "an improvement".

Reforms on the road to accession

To start discussions on social and employment policies in the framework of the accession negotiations with the EU, Turkey should first set up an action plan to introduce a gender mainstreaming approach in its policies and increase women’s participation into the labour market.

Increased participation of girls to primary education, also to prevent early forced marriages, is also a key point, according to Members in committee. They welcome the new Social Risk Mitigation project that transfer money to families proportionally to the number of kids who attend school, with higher funds in case of girls.

Honour killings and suicides

The Turkish government should provide data on the fight against the so-called "honour killings", particularly on any decrease in the number of victims and punishments ruled by judges on related trials, says the approved text.

Also "honour suicides", i.e. when families put pressure on a woman to commit suicide, should be specifically tackled by providing support to women under this threat.

Improvement: new prosecutor office on domestic violence

The committee welcomes the establishment of a new special bureau on domestic violence, within the Ankara Prosecutor Office, in charge of arresting perpetrators and enforcing protection measures for victims. Therefore, Members ask the Turkish government to open such offices in all provinces.

The resolution was approved by unanimity.

Source: European Parliament, FEMM Committee

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