Replying to the questions of Aksam.com.tr, Presidency's Director of Communications Fahrettin Altun said, "Powerful women and powerful families are indispensable for great Türkiye," and added, "The initiatives to resolve the women's problems continue to be the main agenda of our government."
QUESTION: There is a problem of violence against women, which is frequently on the agenda of the whole world and our country. Many legal and administrative steps were effectively taken in order to avoid this problem. Could you give a general outline of what has been done so far?
As a whole nation, together with women and men, Türkiye is proceeding towards a bright future in every field from education to health, from the media to law, from politics to academia, from science to art. With the motto 'Powerful Families, Powerful Society,' we are very proud of the achievements of every individual of our nation as men and women walking shoulder to shoulder.
We are exerting great efforts to pave the way for women in all areas of life and offer solutions to their problems. The initiatives for preventing discrimination against women, the abuse of rights and violence, and women's empowerment continue to be the main agenda of our government.
We continue to support our women in all 81 provinces of Türkiye with a wide range of effective solutions and services ranging from employment to education. We go on to take decisive steps to improve women's rights and the fight against violence against women.
Up to date, many reforms have been implemented concerning women's rights and the fight against violence against women, and our country has gained a strong legal and administrative structure in this field. Finally, in the Human Rights Action Plan announced by our President, steps to improve women's rights and strengthen the fight against violence against women were included. We are determined to effectively implement strong measures to prevent 'violence against women', which our President describes as a crime against humanity.
We work with all our strength so that our women can look to the future more safely and happily. The motto 'Powerful Women, Powerful Families' is indispensable for great Türkiye. We will work together to build a great and powerful Türkiye in which every member of our nation, both men and women, lives in peace and prosperity.
'Zero Tolerance' Toward Violence Against Women
QUESTION: At this point, what would you like to say about the concrete initiatives carried out for the protection of the family and the prevention of violence against women and the results obtained?
We resolutely pursue the principle of 'zero tolerance' in combating violence against women, which is still one of the most important problems worldwide. The Law to Protect Family and Prevent Violence Against Women is one of the most powerful and comprehensive laws in the world. Thus, we are offering a strong legal and vital guarantee to our women.
Preparations for the Fourth National Action Plan covering the years 2021-2025 on combating the violence against women have been completed. Under the coordination of the Ministry of Family, Labour and Social Services, the coordination plan covering the years 2020-2021 for combating the violence against women, prepared in cooperation with the Ministry of Justice, the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the Ministry of National Education and the Presidency of Religious Affairs is being implemented.
In 2020, Contact Points for Combating the Violence were established in 355 Social Service Centres. In order to reach our women who are victims of violence or who are at risk of being subjected to violence more quickly, we are protecting the women victims with ALO 183 Social Support Line and the Women Emergency Assistance Notification System (KADES) application. The KADES application has been a remedy for 90,949 complaints. In the KADES application downloaded by 1.5 million women, complaints are handled in an average of 4 minutes.
The Violence Prevention and Monitoring Centres (ŞÖNİM) provide services to protect women from violence, take necessary precautions, prevent violence against women, and investigate its causes. ŞÖNİM Guest Houses, the total number of which amounted to 81, welcomed 199,876 people.
Relevant institutions of the State stop the violence against women not only with punishment but also with compassion. Judicial Support and Victim Services' Directorates provide preventive and compensatory services for violence victims at 105 destinations. Steps are being taken for not only punitive but also rehabilitative measures for the perpetrators in Penal Institutions.
Of course, our goal is to ensure that no woman is a victim of violence. We will also continue to take awareness-raising steps towards preventing violence against women and protecting the family at the social and individual levels while resolutely implementing preventive measures and ensuring legal processes function effectively.
Fighting Violence against Women is at the Forefront of the Human Rights Action Plan
QUESTION: The Human Rights Action Plan also included many steps in combating domestic violence and violence against women. In this context, what new practices and measures will we see in the coming period?
As you noted, the Human Rights Action Plan announced by our President in early March includes activities that will increase the effectiveness of combating domestic violence and violence against women. In this context, there will be new practices to be implemented and further steps to be taken.
The aggravating circumstances stipulated by the law for crimes against the spouse will be expanded to include the divorced spouse. Acts of stalking (repeatedly engaging in threatening conduct directed at another person, causing her or him to fear for her or his safety) will be regulated as an independent crime, thereby increasing the assurance provided to victims. The number of special centres and women's support units established in hospitals to prevent women, who are victims of sexual assaults, from further traumas will be increased.
Special investigative offices established to effectively investigate crimes arising from domestic violence and violence against women will be expanded throughout the country. To help women, who are victims of violence, effectively seek legal remedies, a regulation will be put in force that enables the appointment of a lawyer for such victims of violence pursuant to Article 234 of the Law on Criminal Procedures and the conditions to be able to seek legal assistance services will be facilitated.
Public Prosecutors appointed at domestic violence offices and judges tasked with overseeing injunctions will be regularly trained to ensure unity of practice. Preventive and protective capacity will be increased to ensure more effective protection of women under threat, and in this context, the use of technological means will be maximised.
Rehabilitation will be provided for those who have committed domestic violence or violence against women, especially those on whom a restraining order is imposed. For this purpose, effective programs such as anger management and stress management will be developed.
In order to minimise the possible adverse effects of the divorce process on the parties and children, especially to ensure a healthy personal relationship with the child, the parties and children will be informed about the process, and psychosocial support will be provided to those in need.
We support women in business life as well
QUESTION: What would you like to say about the support provided for women to be more involved and active in business life?
Many supportive practices were put in place to enable women to participate more in business and social life during the AK Party governments under the leadership of our President.
As of 2021, 30,34 per cent of our over 24 million employees with social insurance are women. We aim to increase women's labour force participation rate within our Development Plans framework to 38,5 per cent and the employment rate to 34 per cent in 2023.
By the end of 2020, 2,1 million women benefited from the active workforce programs offered by the Turkish Employment Agency (İŞKUR). More İŞKUR and Turkish Social Security Institution (SGK) incentives are granted to businesses that provide insured employment for women. We provide support for the harmony of our women's home and work lives with practices such as Home Care Support, Maternity Leave Regulations, Right to Maternity Leave, Nursery Support, Insurance Premium Support, Flexible Working, and Part-time Working.
In addition, for women entrepreneurs who want to benefit from the SME Financing Support Program, the upper limit of 50,000 TL loan was increased to 70,000 TL. As part of this program, women entrepreneurs used a total of 218 million TL of loans. Since 2012, a total of 1 billion 250 million TL support has been provided for women entrepreneurs. In the same vein, working women of our country have accounted for 45 per cent of those who have received Entrepreneurship Training from the Small and Medium Enterprises Development Organisation since 2009.
We continue to develop women's cooperatives in all 81 provinces of Türkiye in order to support women's entrepreneurship. We are trying to increase women's participation in the economic life with programs such as Social Development Support Platform and Support for Women's Cooperatives, Multi-Purpose Community Centres Project, Women Entrepreneurs Network Program, Export Academy Program, National Women Exporters Network Platform, and Angel Investors Platform Project.