Minister Sahin Praises JWF for Courageous Coverage

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Turkey’s Family and Social Policy Minister Fatma Sahin has praised the Journalists and Writers Foundation (JWF) for its members’ courageous coverage of important issues at a time when the country is taking steps toward democratization.

JWF not only brings problems under the spotlight but also suggests solutions for them.

Fatma Sahin, Turkey’s Family and Social Policy Minister

Sahin’s remarks came during a panel discussion on women’s issues held by JWF and Peace Islands Institute at New York’s Turkevi (Turkish House) on March 5, 2013. She said the Foundation’s news coverage leads the way for the scientific and academic world. She highlighted that JWF not only brings problems under the spotlight but also suggests solutions for them.

Sahin arrived in New York this week for a meeting with the United Nations’ Commission on the Status of Women.

While speaking about the improvements Turkey has achieved in protecting women’s rights, Sahin said she sees gender-based violence as a human rights violation and one of the leading problems that hinders economic development. She added that her government introduced positive discrimination to increase girls’ enrollment in schools.

To underscore that everybody — regardless of their gender, age, or physical disability — must enjoy human rights, such as receiving an education, health services, and employment, Şahin said her ministry supports every individual in Turkey in their endeavor for a dignified life.

She said that every baby in Turkey is born with health insurance and that everyone receives health services free of charge until the age of 18. Sahin noted that Turkey is among the top 10 countries to reduce its maternal and child mortality in recent years.

The minister added that 10 years ago, when the current government had just begun to serve, 33 percent of the population was living on less than $4 a day. Now, that figure has dropped to only 2.7 percent.

JWF the first Turkish NGO with general consultative status

Addressing the audience at the panel, JWF President Mustafa Yesil said a women’s platform is now working under the umbrella of JWF and has held an international conference titled “Aile” (Family), which brought together 500 academics and representatives of nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) from 50 countries.

Yesil recalled that JWF is the first institution from Turkey to earn general consultative status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC). He noted that the Foundation will maintain its cooperation with institutions that serve the well-being of humanity. “The Journalists and Writers Foundation has been inspired by the teachings of the Foundation’s honorary president, Fethullah Gulen [a Turkish Islamic scholar] and has been working in cooperation with over 100 institutions from 146 countries on 5 continents,” he said.

Regarding the goals of the Foundation, Yesil said JWF is seeking to gather hundreds of prestigious figures from the worlds of politics, science, and the arts and establish a ground where they can co-exist based on compromises and respect.

Then, in her address to the panel’s audience, Hilal Elver, a research professor of Global Studies at the University of California Santa Barbara, said the Western understanding of feminism is no longer accepted as the only one in the world. Elver emphasized the importance of cultural and religious differences in forming an individual’s or a group’s own definition of feminism.

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