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A CHP Parliamentarian

Gaye Erbatur

"I often feel very lonely as a woman in politics… We have to have more women. We have to have a quota system… It will never happen without quota system, it never happened otherwise elsewhere."

(ESI Interview with Gaye Erbatur)

A chemical engineer, Nevin Gaye Erbatur (born in 1950) started working on women's issues in 1988. In 1994 she helped to establish the Women's Research and Implementation Centre at Cukurova University in Adana. Elected to Parliament in 2002 Erbatur played a crucial role during the reform of the Penal Code. Although not a member of the Justice Commission, Erbatur attended its discussions to lobby on women's issues. Her reports to women's NGOs enabled them to conduct an effective campaign. As she told ESI:

"When they appointed the sub-commission, I attended the first meeting. I was the only woman at the meeting … Every day I went to sub-committee meetings and figured out what was being discussed. I kept members of the committee informed about women's issues. I told them stories about women – virginity test, domestic violence, rape. For each legal article, I gave them examples. I told my NGO friends what was discussed."

(ESI interview, June 2006)

On 5 December 2006, when women in Turkey celebrated the 71st anniversary of universal adult suffrage, Erbatur stated: "Today, we are fighting a mentality trying to push women back into the home rather than integrating them into society."

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