Erdogan meets with top women NGO representatives
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan yesterday met at the Prime Ministry's Istanbul office with women representatives from some of Turkey's top nongovernmental organizations. The prime minister and his grown daughter Sumeyye greeted each of the women individually. Also in attendance were State Minister Selma Aliye Kavaf, Education Minister Nimet Cubukcu, and Interior Minister Besir Atalay. Guests included women from both women's-interest and other NGOs, including Turkish Industrialists and Businessmen's Association (TUSIAD) head Umit Boyner and Caroline Koc. Erdogan told the guests that many of them had told him that this was the first time the state was listening to their problems, adding that as part of his government's democratic initiative to address the nation's longstanding Kurdish problem, he and other officials have recently been holding meetings with a variety of civil society actors, including artists, writers, representatives of online media outlets, and even athletes. On the democratic initiative, Erdogan stressed that it continues unabated, and that the nation's issues cannot be solved without civil-government collaboration. He urged them to contribute, not just complain, and added, "Despite our calls, nobody is coming to us with anything. You can't resolve issues that developed over hundreds of years overnight."