Shaping Political Discourse on Women’s Rights: The Role of Women in the Amendment of Gender Policies in Turkey

Part of the Comparative Feminist Studies Series book series (CFS)


Since the early 2000s, gender policies have undergone a remarkable change in Turkey.1 Although one might rightfully argue that the Turkish state initiated these policy changes as part of an effort to become a European Union (EU) member2 (Muftuler Bac 2005), it is my contention that grassroots feminism played an important role in this process. The European Commission (EC), the executive body of the EU, criticized Turkey for not complying with its requirements, especially the “political criteria” that were put forward by the EC at the 1993 Copenhagen Summit (Karluk 2003). These criteria encompass the stability of institutions guaranteeing democracy, the rule of law, human rights, and respect for and protection of minorities. They also include the requirements regarding gender equality. In order to comply with the criteria and with the hope for receiving a date from the EC to begin the accession negotiations, Turkey amended its civil and penal codes, the labor law, and the constitution after 2000.


European Union Political Discourse Penal Code Civil Code European Parliament 
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© Clara Román-Odio and Marta Sierra 2011

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