Top state officials mark intl Wonem's Day, calling for more efforts to strengthen Women's rights and status
In a written statement marking March 8 International Women's Day, President Abdullah Gul yesterday acknowledged that despite legal progress there are still large problems impeding the improvement of women's status in Turkey. "Enormous steps have been taken in Turkey on the legal basis for improving the status of women," he said. "However, improvement in the legal dimension is much quicker than in practice. Mentalities must be changed and rights gained by legislation must also be actively exercised. So these mentalities will be changed not only by the endeavors of women, but also through comprehensive education and contributions from everybody." Pointing to the need to address problems such as gender discrimination, domestic violence, and lack of access to education, Gül said the elimination of such hurdles requires collective efforts. "I believe wholeheartedly that when we solve the problems of our women and give them equal opportunities in education, our country will leap forward thanks to their contributions," he said. "Women contribute more than anyone else to shaping the future of our country with both their workplace success and the generations they raise. Consequently, the better opportunities we give to our women, the more we will gain power as a society." In related news, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan asked for women's support for the government's democratic initiative in a weekend speech marking the day in the southeastern Anatolia province of Sanliurfa. Touching on problems facing women such as domestic violence, "honor" killings and inequality in both work and social life, he said, "Whoever treats women in an inhuman way on the pretext of custom, tradition or faith is ignorant. Violence against women is backward." Erdogan also denounced all forms of discrimination against women.