"In the 32 districts of Istanbul, I am the first female deputy mayor since 1994. I am responsible for social projects concerning women, children and employment projects."
Inci Bespinar, born in Istanbul, is the deputy mayor of the Kadikoy district on Istanbul's Anatolian side. She studied in Ankara and later returned to Istanbul. When her children were born there were no kindergartens or public (and affordable) childcare, so she had to stop working. When her children grew up, Bespinar started working for the Kadikoy municipality, where she focused on improving the situation of women.
A formative event for her was the case of a woman who came to her for help some years ago:
"There was a very beautiful woman, Esma, I will never forget this. She had blue eyes and a very light skin. One day she told me that her legs were aching, because she was beaten up so badly that the bones wouldn't grow together again. Some weeks later I had the most painful experience of my professional life. I read in the newspaper on page three: "Woman killed by her husband with an axe."
Bespinar helped set up the first public shelter in Kadikoy. She also set up training centres for migrant women to help them obtain a basic education and professional qualifications. For many years Bespinar has worked to improve the situation of women in Kadikoy.
"Which problems do women in Turkey have? First there is a very serious education problem, secondly there is an employment problem, and there is the problem that women experience violence by men, be it the husband, father or brother. These all affect basic human rights."
"If there were 10 Kadikoys in Turkey, the country would change more rapidly…"