Woman taking photos at a festival in Istanbul. Photo: flickr/Collin Key
Woman taking photos at a festival in Istanbul. Photo: flickr/Collin Key

ESI report: Sex and Power in Turkey. Feminism, Islam and the Maturing of Turkish Democracy (2 June 2007)

Radikal, Ekin Kadir Selçuk

"The European Stability Initiative prepared a report on Turkey entitled 'Sex and Power: Feminism, Islam and the Maturing of Turkish Democracy.' The argument is that from 2001 onwards legislative changes, initiatives to combat domestic violence and efforts to increase the schooling of girls triggered a 'female revolution.' We did not miss the opportunity to discuss this claim on 8 March Women's Day".

Necla Arat (founder of the Center for Women's Research and Education at Istanbul University): "The report frequently states that the most radical reforms were conducted under AKP's rule… The report also denigrates the Republican demonstrations… The rights and the wrongs of this partial report should be debated."

Leyla Pervizat (Feminist Researcher): "The report claims that Turkey, legislatively, is now post-patriarchal. However there are still serious problems… The Turkish Penal Code does not use the term "honour killing." Moreover, the state still allows men to be in charge of women's honour."

Aylin Aslim (singer), "I am not aware of a revolution. The government is men, the laws are men, the decision makers are men."

Nihal Bengisu Karaca (journalist): "For matters that could very well stay the same for centuries, the law needs to pioneer change. It is interesting that most of the changes that enhanced women's status occurred during the AKP period".

Mediz (Media Tracking group of Women):  "ESI's report relates the potential for change and the legal transformation of Turkey to EU member states. As Turkey is preparing for EU membership, the report emphasizes the positive developments… It might be too early to call it a 'revolution'".

 Radikal, 8 March 2008

"But if the same ladies thumbed through a study of Turkish women by the Berlin-based European Stability Initiative, their notions about Islam and modernity might change. Entitled 'Sex and Power in Turkey', the paper deconstructs the myth that Ataturk was the sole champion of Turkish women."

 The Economist, 12 July 2007

"Two years have passed since the Islamic Calvinists report and now ESI is back with an even more thought-provoking study: 'Sex And Power In Turkey: Feminism, Islam and The Maturing of Turkish Democracy.' This new work is the outcome of 18 months of research carried out by a team of ESI analysts, who interviewed women and men from opposite extremes of Turkey, ranging from the stylish areas of Istanbul such as Kadıköy to the impoverished villages of the eastern city of Van. I think it is a must-read for anyone who wants to understand social change in Turkey and how it affects its women."

 Turkish Daily News , 14 June 2007