Monday, April 11, 2011

Tied Up in Knots

Eurasianet's Nicholas Birch has a great piece up about an initiative in Turkey to get headscarved women on the ballot for the upcoming parliamentary elections. From his article:
A woman's group is stirring controversy in Turkey with a campaign to elect headscarf-wearing women to parliament. Some of the fiercest opposition to the initiative is coming not from secularists, but from religious conservatives.

With just over two months to go before Turkey’s parliamentary balloting, the country’s political leaders are starting to assemble party lists of candidates. The number of seats any given party wins is determined by the percentage of the vote it receives. The higher an individual candidate is on a party list, then, the better the odds of that person becoming a MP.

Turkish women's groups have been traditionally divided along ideological lines. But they are uniting behind the initiative, launched in March by a non-partisan group called Women Meet Halfway, to have women who wear headscarves placed high enough up on party lists so that they stand a decent chance of being elected.

"No headscarves, no vote," shouted sixty-odd women who gathered outside the parliament building in Ankara on April 8. "As it stands, our democracy is half-baked", said the group's spokeswoman, Nesrin Semiz. "Two-thirds of Turkish women cover their heads. Not one of them has a seat in parliament."

The campaign is generating an ambiguous reaction from an electoral constituency that, at least at first glance, would appear to be a natural ally: religiously conservative men.
The full article can be found here.

Turkey's political parties released their candidate lists today. Hurriyet takes a look at how women fared on the lists here. In the end, the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) only nominated one headscarved candidate, placing her at the bottom of the candidates list, which means it's not very likely she'll get voted into parliament.

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