Turkey gave full suffrage to women before many European states: President

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan arrives for a meeting in Istanbul, Turkey, March 5, 2017. Murat Cetinmuhurdar/Presidential Palace/Handout via REUTERS

Turkey gave the country’s women the right to vote and to be elected on this day in 1934, well before many European countries, the Turkish president said in a video message on Sunday.

On the occasion of the 87th anniversary of Turkish women getting full suffrage – the right to both vote and be elected – Recep Tayyip Erdogan said the fact that Turkish women got this opportunity much earlier than many women in Europe is an “important indicator” that reflects the Turkish nation’s view of women.

“Although our women gained the right to vote and be elected in 1934, they started to use their rights freely under the Justice and Development (AK) Party,” he said, referring to the party coming to power in November 2002.


Erdogan decried how those who “segregated” Turkish women based on their clothing blocked them from exercising their constitutional rights, especially the right to be elected.

In the years before the AK Party came to power, women wearing headscarves were barred from official settings and positions, a policy that AK Party governments ended.

“Most achievements by our women in their struggle for participation in politics and social life were made under the AK Party,” Erdogan said.

He said women’s representation in parliament was under 4% for nearly 60 years after the demise of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, founder of the Republic of Turkey, in 1938.


In the 2018 elections, 104 out of the 600 elected lawmakers were women, he pointed out.

“As AK Party chairman and president of Turkey, I will continue to stand by our women in their struggle for rights and justice,” Erdogan said.

“With the grace of God, we will continue to develop solutions to the problems of our women, especially violence against women, in the coming days.”

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