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Ankara, 30 June 2014
A ÇAY WITH… ŞAFAK PAVEY
ŞAFAK PAVEY is a strong woman, she is involving and friendly person. She is not a conventional parliamentarian, she is really interested in talking about woman rights and she wants to know our opinion about Turkey situation and human rights.
One morning in June, we met Șafak Pavey in the center of Ankara, in a cafè in Kızılay, at the first impression she had a good influence: she is a Turkish diplomat, columnist and politician. She is the first disabled woman to be elected to Turkey's parliament (Republican People's party - CHP), but at our eyes she is a charismatic woman, intelligent and really interested in her country and its social issues.
Talking to her made us clear her background, her university career and her hard work in the field of human rights. She studied international relations at the University of Westminster and completed post-graduate studies at the London School of Economics. Șafack Pavey served in the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, being responsible for external relations and humanitarian aid in countries such as Algeria, Egypt, Iran, Lebanon and Syria. She worked as the spokesperson of UNHCR for Central Europe in Hungary and later as the head of human rights treaty body secretariat at the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights.
Immediately she puts us at ease, she introduced us at the heart of the matter giving us a detail background about women situation in Turkey. Unfortunately, a large part of the world denies women rights that should be theirs by virtue of being human beings. In some places it’s just a cultural and a religious opposition to giving women their full rights. In Turkey- Șafak Pavey said- actually, the women are more aware on theirs rights, in particular the young generations that are really involved in the modernization process. Although these facts, in this country remains the contradiction between the traditional culture and the deep wish to take part in the process of renovation.
Furthermore Șafak Pavey explains that:
“… because we are producing modern laws thanks to the access process with European Union. There are many laws but society is given orders by role modeling a different direction; we’re are producing a lot of laws fighting violence against women […] but a leader comes up and says Turkish women should stay at home you took the mischief and misbehavior of the west so then there’s the conflict of understanding… nobody respect the modern laws anymore the culture leadership is taking the direction into a different place […] so that’s why there are many contradictions, you will never understand Turkey unless you go deep into the culture…”
Regard the last year protest mainly located in Istanbul and Taksim Meydanı, we asked her more detailed informations about those events. She also made us clear that there are other inter classes and inter-generational struggles that are moving simultaneously to the streets protest. Although the young generation is clearly the most damaged by the pressure of the government, we understand that there is something deep moving throughout turkish population.
“… the first victims are always the youth unfortunately but there’s a deep down undiscussed issue and I think that it’s our real problem that while this country was been praised by the booming economy the cliff between poor and rich increased so I don’t know…”
The gathering with Miss Pavey proved us a different image of Turkey which has to be regarded as a bridge between Europe and Middle East. Thus the international policy will have to face the challenge to raise the awareness of the most urgent turkish issues both at the eyes of European community and Middle East scenario.
Unfortunately, our çay finished but at the end of this chat we are once more aware of the chance that we had in talking with one of the most charismatic woman in international policy. Șafak Pavey is the emblem of modernity and social equality and with her humble approach to the hardest issues in Turkey represents the kind of politician that is really involved in the discussion on the social situation with ordinary citizens.
Samantha Desteffani and Paola Scoccola