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January 21, 2020 Special Dispatch No. 8511

Turkish Opposition MP: Parliamentary Religious Ruling Calling 'For Women To Be Raised As The Respected Wives Of Men' Goes Against 'Fundamental Qualities Of The Republic, Above All The Principle Of Secularism'

January 21, 2020
Turkey | Special Dispatch No. 8511

In a January 15, 2020 article in the opposition daily BirGün, Turkish journalist Burcu Cansu reported on an international agreement with Egypt from 2013 brought to the agenda of parliament in Turkey that called "for women to be raised as the respected wives of men... with the guidance of Islamic values, in the framework of joint Islamic behavior."

The agreement was signed in Cairo on February 4, 2013, during the presidency of Mohammed Morsi, who was leader of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, approved by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on January 15, 2019, signed by then Parliamentary Leader Binali Yıldırım, and dispatched to parliament. A year later it was put on the agenda, and after a reported phone call from Özgür Özel, an MP from the opposition CHP, Volkan Bozkır, an MP from the ruling AKP, announced that after a discussion with Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, discussion of the agreement had been postponed.

Özgür Özel said of the agreement: "It is against the prime principles of the constitution, the fundamental qualities of the Republic, above all the principle of secularism... For this to move to the parliamentary agenda is a stroke against the rights that women in our country have won. This regulation's being put on the agenda is a preliminary test concerning the establishment of edicts based on religious rules as dominant in daily life."


Turkish journalist Burcu Cansu writes for the BirGün daily.[1]

Other AKP policies based on shari'a have been making headlines in Turkey over the past month. On December 14, 2019, Turkey's T.C. Resmi Gazete, which is the country's official public record announced, in its "board decisions" for that day, three decisions that cited verses from the Quran and the hadiths of Muhammad as a basis for Turkish law. The decisions pertain to the "ethical rules" to be followed by the auditors of interest-free financial institutions.[2] Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's former chief advisor, retired Turkish general Adnan Tanrıverdi, has also been articulating a vision of a unified Islamic superpower based on shari'a through conferences and documents published by his organizations.[3]

Writers at BirGün regularly criticize AKP policies derived from shari'a and promote secularism in the country.[4] Turkey's Basın İlan Kurumu ("Print Notice Council," BİK), which places formal announcements and advertisements belonging to public institutions in newspapers and magazines, has since September 2019 stopped all such notices and advertisements from being placed in BirGün.[5] İbrahim Varlı, who is a member of the board of directors of BirGün, said of the government policy: "They are trying to make our newspaper get in line."[6] BİK has also stopped such advertisements from going to the daily Evrensel. Protesters in several cities have demonstrated in support of the two dailies and in opposition to the policy.[7] When Evrensel objected to the policy, BİK rejected the objection, saying that the daily's supporters were purchasing multiple copies of its print edition. Devrim Avcı, a lawyer for Evrensel, said that this was an attempt to punish the daily by means of its readers, and said: "You are following the readers physically? We understand this from the official reports."[8] Supporters of the daily responded to BİK's rejection by saying they would buy not two but three copies of the daily each day.[9]

Following is a translation of Burcu Cansu's article:

"For Women To Be Raised As The Respected Wives Of Men... With The Guidance Of Islamic Values"

"A year later, the Islamic Conference Organization (ICO) Women's Progress Organization Regulation, which has drawn reactions due to its inclusion of shari'a rulings, was brought to the agenda of the Foreign Affairs Commission. Discussion of the proposal was delayed due to the objections of the CHP.[10]

"The agreement concerning the ICO Women's Progress Organization Regulation, which drew reactions from women's organizations and opposition parties, was suddenly brought to the agenda of parliament's Foreign Affairs Commission after being approved by President Tayyip Erdoğan of the AKP on January 15, 2019, and sent to parliament. Discussion of the agreement has been postponed for now due to the opposition's obstruction efforts.

"The approval of Turkey's Islamic Conference Organization (ICO) Women's Progress Organization Regulation, which was signed in Cairo on February 4, 2013, was brought to the parliamentary agenda six years later. The proposal was, at a request from the Office of the President and bearing the signature of then Parliamentary Leader Binali Yıldırım, dispatched to the relevant commissions.

"These rulings found in the contract that was presented to parliament created big arguments: 'For women to be raised as the respected wives of men, through verification of the importance of the role of training, education, and the improvement of their situation, with the guidance of Islamic values, in the framework of joint Islamic behavior, by being strengthened with the gifts that Islamic civilization gave humanity concerning showing respect to women and honoring them, in the Muslim world, in a quickly changing, developing, and modernizing world.'"

"For This To Move To The Parliamentary Agenda Is A Stroke Against The Rights That Women In Our Country Have Won... A Preliminary Test Concerning The Establishment Of Edicts Based On Religious Rules As Dominant In Daily Life"

"The proposal, which has been waiting in parliament for a year, was brought to the agenda of the commission gathering in the ministry of Volkan Bozkır. When the time came for the agreement, which was at the end of the agenda, Bozkır announced that the proposal had been postponed, saying that he had spoken with Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu.

"According to acquired information, CHP Group Deputy Chairman Özgür Özel called the AKP Group Deputy Chairmen on the phone and asked for the agreement not to be discussed. It was learned that Özel said that the agreement was against the constitution, and that if anyone was insistent, every method would be used to block it. It was said that these discussions were effective in the postponement, but [the agreement] could be brought [to the agenda] again.


Özgür Özel is an MP for the opposition CHP.

"Özgür Özel evaluated the agreement for BirGün in this way: 'It is against the prime principles of the constitution, the fundamental qualities of the Republic, above all the principle of secularism, and the principle of equality before the law. It is also against the Istanbul Agreement and the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, to which Turkey is a signatory. Because it is not possible for these international agreements based on the principle of societal gender equality to be compatible with the ICO Women's Progress Organization Regulation, which describes a woman as 'the respected wife of men' and within the framework of religious values. For this to move to the parliamentary agenda is a stroke against the rights that women in our country have won. This regulation's being put on the agenda is a preliminary test concerning the establishment of edicts based on religious rules as dominant in daily life.'"

 

[1] Twitter.com/burcu_cansu?lang=en, accessed January 16, 2020.

[4] See MEMRI Special Dispatch No. 8407 Turkish Journalist: Opposition Parties Remain 'Silent Like Lambs Whose Necks Were Extended To The Knife' While President Erdoğan Digs The Grave Of Secularism, Almost Declares Shari'a, December 11, 2019.  Birgun.net/haber/bu-goruntuler-seriat-provasidir-196058, December 18, 2017; Birgun.net/haber/giderayak-seriat-283898, January 14, 2020; Birgun.net/haber/istanbul-da-seriat-sempozyumu-281080, December 22, 2019; Birgun.net/haber/turkiye-de-seriat-almanya-da-laiklik-istemek-278589, December 3, 2019; Birgun.net/haber/seriat-gelir-mi-280987, December 21, 2019; Birgun.net/haber/seriat-hukumleri-ilk-kez-resmi-gazete-de-korfez-den-sadece-para-gelmiyor-280682, December 19, 2019; Birgun.net/haber/ne-seriat-ne-askeri-darbe-ne-de-sivil-darbe-2617, June 8, 2007; Birgun.net/haber/burkasiz-seriat-ya-da-turk-tipi-molla-rejimi-198952, January 8, 2018; Birgun.net/haber/yeni-safak-yazari-karaman-seriat-kurallarini-uygulamaya-engel-yok-273871, October 25, 2019; Birgun.net/haber/pembe-renkli-seriat-176650, August 27, 2017; Birgun.net/haber/seriat-egitimi-ders-kitaplarinda-178773, September 11, 2017; Birgun.net/haber/kendisi-var-adi-yok-seriat-172208, July 30, 2017; Birgun.net/haber/daha-acil-bir-sorunumuz-yok-seriat-kurumsallasiyor-172228, July 30, 2017.

[5] Birgun.net/haber/okurlarimizin-bilgisine-279561, December 11, 2019.

[6] Independentturkish.com/node/102251/medya/birg%C3%BCn%C3%BCn-resmi-ilan-ak%C4%B1%C5%9F%C4%B1-durduruldu-gazetemizi-hizaya-sokmak-istiyorlar, December 11, 2019.

[7] Evrensel.net/haber/393973/evrensel-ve-birgunden-iktidarin-ambargosuna-karsi-dayanisma-cagrisi, December 26, 2019; Evrensel.net/haber/394068/samsunda-evrensel-ve-birgune-destek-sesimiz-olan-bu-gazetelere-sahip-cikmaliyiz, December 27, 2019; Birgun.net/haber/istanbullular-birgun-e-sahip-cikti-282738, January 5, 2020;

[8] Evrensel.net/haber/394068/samsunda-evrensel-ve-birgune-destek-sesimiz-olan-bu-gazetelere-sahip-cikmaliyiz, January 16, 2020.

[9] Evrensel.net/haber/395488/meslek-orgutlerinden-evrenselle-dayanisma-cagrisi-2-degil-3-gazete-alacagiz, January 17, 2020.

[10] Birgun.net/haber/akp-teklifte-israrci-seriatin-on-yoklamasi-284194, January 15, 2020.

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