Turkish women celebrate 85th anniversary of suffrage

Voting since 1934, Turkish women have increased share of lawmakers nearly 4-fold since foundation of country

Gozde Bayar   | 05.12.2019
Turkish women celebrate 85th anniversary of suffrage Turkish Minister of Labour, Social Services and Family Zehra Zumrut Selcuk visits Anitkabir, the mausoleum of Ataturk, on the 85th anniversary of granting the right to the Turkish women to elect and be elected in Ankara, Turkey on December 05, 2019. ( Nevzat Yıldırım - Anadolu Agency )


Turkish women on Thursday marked the 85th anniversary of their suffrage in the country.

Marking the day, Family, Labor and Social Services Minister Zehra Zumrut Selcuk visited Anitkabir, the mausoleum of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the founder of the Republic of Turkey, in the capital Ankara.

"We will march to the future with the same courage as our women who protected the national will and the country's future during War of Independence and on July 15 [2016]," Selcuk said.

The Fetullah Terror Organization (FETO) and its U.S.-based leader Fetullah Gulen orchestrated the defeated coup on July 15, 2016, which left 251 people martyred and nearly 2,200 injured.

Selcuk stressed that the country would strive to eliminate all kinds of discrimination against women, including in education and work, as well as to empower women as individuals.

Lawmakers also marked the day with speeches and press conferences, as did women's branches of political parties, women's group and several football clubs.

Women in Turkish politics

In 1934, Turkish women, were among the first in Europe to achieve the right to vote and run for elected office through a constitutional amendment.

In 1930 -- only seven years after Ataturk founded the Republic of Turkey on Oct. 23, 1923 -- Turkish women were granted suffrage in local elections held that year.

Since then, women have been active in national politics, and founded the National Women's Party of Turkey in 1972 and the Women's Party in 2014.

There has been an increase in the number of women elected to parliament in recent decades.

While in 1935 only 4.5% of lawmakers were women, this share increased to nearly one in five legislators being women in 2019 -- despite the number of lawmakers rising from 401 to 600.

Today, there are 102 women lawmakers in the Turkish Grand National Assembly.

* Isa Toprak from Ankara contributed to this story

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