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Experts Discussed Women’s Rights, The Upcoming Elections, and Disaster Relief in Turkiye at the European Parliament Event

The European Neighbourhood Council organized an event titled “Disaster, Democracy and the Faces of Civil Society in Türkiye” on International Women’s Day 2023, at the European Parliament.

Nacho Sánchez Amor, Member of the European Parliament and Türkiye Rapporteur delivered a warm welcome address, highlighting his recent visit to the areas affected by earthquakes, and underscoring the urgent need for swift actions. He also emphasised that Turkiye is an enormous country in many ways and the European Union should understand its complexity here in Brussels.

Samuel Doveri Vesterbye, Director of ENC, said that this event is dedicated to the International Women’s Day, particularly in light of the alarming rise of gender violence not only in Turkiye, but also across Europe. The welcoming part of the event underlined the critical role of both European institutions and civil society in advancing gender equality and human rights in Turkiye. 

Ece Temelkuran, a famous author known for her work on women’s rights and democracy; Nevşin Mengü, an independent journalist who has covered the country’s political landscape extensively; and Can Selçuki, co-founder of the Istanbul Economics Research were the main speakers of the event. In addition to the panel speakers, there were additional comments and a Q&A session featuring Emre Keki, a senior partner at PAE Law Office; İsrafil Özkan, director of the Freedom Research Association; Nayat Karaköse, programme coordinator at the Hrant Dink Foundation; Çiğdem Çımrın, co-founder of Minerva BHR; Özge Öner, associate professor at the University of Cambridge; and Yiğit Göktuğ Torun, a project assistant at the Human Rights Academy and Türkiye-Europe Lectures at FNF Turkey. The experts brought their valuable perspectives and shared their insights on, among other things, human rights due diligence, civil society and minority rights at the event.

The event’s overarching theme was the role of women’s rights in promoting democracy and upcoming elections in Turkiye, especially now, when Turkiye’s opposition are united and appointed one joint candidate. It also brought attention to the crucial role of women’s rights as a driving force for democracy in Turkiye, the impact of recent devastating earthquakes, and the pressing need for democracy and European values in Turkish society. In addition, the panelists shared their perspectives on what we should anticipate from the upcoming May 2023 elections. 

Our event gave insightful discussion on the latest development in Turkiye for nearly 80 guests and shed light on Turkiye’s current political landscape after the catastrophic earthquake and ongoing crisis, and to the crucial role of women as driving force for democracy. The event was held under the project titled “Shaping the Future of Turkey – EU Relations Together”, supported by the Friedrich Nauman Foundation Turkey (FNF Turkey).