Human rights organizations concerned with women’s affairs in Turkey fear a decrease in the proportion of women’s representation in the new parliament, following the parliamentary elections that the country will witness in one day, coinciding with the presidential elections on May 14, amid great challenges, most notably the repercussions of the devastating earthquake that struck southern Turkey on the sixth of February. last February, when it claimed thousands of lives and left massive damage to the infrastructure.
It is expected that the percentage of women’s representation in the upcoming parliament will be lower than the percentage of women participating in the last parliament that was formed after the 2018 elections, which raises the concern of women’s rights advocates in the country and associations that care about their issues.
Fatima Bostan Onsal, a Turkish academic and human rights defender, said, “Women’s representation in parliament has been stuck for a long time with 4% of the total number of deputies. For example, it was the case in 2002, but this matter has begun to change since 2007.”
Onsal, who pays great attention to issues of women and minorities in Turkey, told Al-Arabiya.net, “The ruling Justice and Development Party confirms the high representation of women in Parliament during its reign, but in reality this is due to the presence of the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party in Parliament. He attaches great importance to this issue, and women constitute 41% of his deputies, which is the highest percentage in the current parliament.
And she continued, “The Peoples’ Democratic Party ranks first in terms of female representation in the current parliament, as it has 23 women out of 56 deputies, followed by the ruling party with a rate of 18.56%, as there are 54 women out of 291 deputies for this party, and then comes the Republican People’s Party.” He has 17 women in Parliament out of 138 deputies.
Representatives of the HDP during a heated debate in parliament in 2016 (archive)
She also stressed that “there must be an acknowledgment of the need to raise women’s representation in parliament, otherwise the percentage of women will be small and declining compared to previous parliamentary sessions and local elections, in which the percentage of women also appears to be low among various parties except for the Peoples’ Democratic Party, which raises the issue of the presence of two co-chairs.” Each municipality has two men and women at the same time.
According to the Turkish human rights activist, female representation in most parties is declining, with the exception of the Democratic People’s Party, which is running in the elections on the list of the “Green Left” party within the “Labor and Freedom” coalition, where the percentage of female representation in its parliamentary bloc is expected to rise to 45%. in the next parliament instead of 41% in the current parliament.
The Ben Seçerim Association estimated that the percentage of female representation in the ruling “Justice and Development” party and the “Republican People’s Party”, which is the main opposition party in Turkey, is 17% for each of them, and 22% for each of the “Democracy and Construction” and “Future” parties that it leads. Two former leaders of the ruling party led by the country’s current president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan.