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Revised and Expanded version: July 12, 2015
Part 1 of 2 was posted for the International Women Day,
some minor updates made on March 6, 2016
Part 2 of 2 is posted on November 7, 2016.

Paper | Part 2 of 2
Radicalization of the Middle East: Turkey
A Secular Perspective through Women and the
UN Millennium Development Goals

This concept initially was presented during the
“HISTORICAL RIGHTS AND WRONGS: WWI, TURKISH SECULARISM AND RELIGIOUS CONFLICT”
Conference at Charleston University, Ottawa, Canada on March 14, 2015.
Session 3: MIDDLE EAST RADICALIZATION: SECRETARIAN OR SECULAR DEVELOPMENT?

"Humanity is made up of two entities: man and woman.
How could it be possible for the whole to progress if we let one half progress and neglec the other?"

–Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, Founder of Republic of Turkey

In this Part
III: Status of Muslim Women, the case of Tunisia
IV: Millennium Development Goals with regard to Status of Women
V: Conclusion

Voting Rights for Women in the Middle East

Initial Power Point Presentation

By BİRCAN ÜNVER
Founder-President, The Light Millennium and Head
NGO Representative to the United Nations Department of Public Information
http://www.lightmillennium.org

Part 1 of 2: I. Introduction | II. Status of Turkish Women

Below two paragraphs are taken from the last section of the Part 1 of 2:
More relevantly, a statement delivered by the UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka on the host country agreement with Turkey for UN Women’s Regional Office in Europe and Central Asia, at the Turkish Mission to the United Nations, New York, 28 February 2014. In it, she stated the following:
“We now have an important chance to go that extra step through the post-2015 development agenda and sustainable development goals. The combination and confluence of these processes with the Beijing +20 review provide an unprecedented opportunity for all of us to make that change. I look forward to the Government of Turkey’s usual strong political support in this endeavor and for Istanbul with our regional office emerging as a strong convener in the region towards improved consensus on these key defining agendas of this decade.” (UN-Women, March 2014).

With this agreement, Turkey as the regional host country for the UN-Women that once cannot help not asking the following question: How will the ongoing and ever escalating politics against basic girls and women rights in Turkey, will be fully complied with the vision and purposes of the UN-Women as well as for the region at large? This is still the key question and a major concern at this stage to this author.


Part 2 of 2:

On the other hand, a horrifying point that is emphasized in Doğan’s aforementioned report, indicates a recent notion from the AKP’s, therefore Prime Minister Davutoğlu and President Erdoğan’s stand point on this very critical and troubling issue:
“According to some theologians close to the AKP, girls can get married once they reach the age of 6. The goal behind providing state-sponsored financial assistance to students who marry and to mothers who give birth, even when they are themselves still a child, are to confine girls and women to the home and distance them from society.” (Doğan, Turkey Pulse, Al-Monitor, 2015)

One cannot help but ask this question: How did Turkey end up here on girls and women rights, universal education and gender equality related policies and approaches from the days of Streit’s accounts in 1921 and Ankara University of 1935?

According to this author, there is a simple answer. That is, by reversing Turkey’s secular system and altering it with the Islamic Law. And it hasn’t just started in 2000. It was actually initiated by shutting down the Village Institutions completely. They were never restored while Imam Hatips that started in the late 1950s mushroomed to the present day.

Turkey, once a bonfire in the Middle East, developing countries and the Islamic world, now offers a “cash reward” by the Prime Minister in the form of bribing the underprivileged Turkish families, using the country’s resources, by encouraging them to convince their daughters and sons to drop out of their schools in order to marry at an early age and have children. (Doğan, Turkey Pulse, Al-Monitor, 2015)
In order to further enhance and present the concept of this paper within a wider context, specifically, Streit’s account in connection with Halide Edip Adıvar (Lowry-Streit, 2011), it is also useful to look at the number of the Women Ambassadors at the United Nations in 2015.
Despite the UN-Women (2011), despite the 2000 Millennium Development Goals for the 2015, despite the Secretary General Ban Ki Moon’s championship for “gender equality and empowering women”, and despite the ongoing process towards the Post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals for 2030 to be approved during the upcoming 70th Session of the United Nations’ General Assembly in September 2015; do you know how many woman ambassadors and “permanent representatives” hold the ambassadorial position at the United Nations out of the 193 member states as of March 2015?

According to the UN’s Blue Book (the latest available version is dated December 2014), there are only 35* woman ambassadors at the United Nations. And, out of the 35 woman ambassadors, only 4 of them are representing the Middle East and Arabic countries, which are: Jordan, Oman, Qatar and United Arab Emirates.

Although Turkey has the Right to Vote for women since 1930, and Turkish women have the right to be elected since 1933, Turkey has not had any woman ambassadors at the United Nations or in the United States to this date. However, there were only 13 woman diplomats in the world of 1933, where Turkey and Nicaragua were among the leading countries for gender equality and women empowerment. In this context, from 1921 and 1933 to 2015, neither Turkey, nor Nicaragua is represented by a woman ambassador at the UN today.
[*] As of March 13, 2015, the total number of the UN Women Ambassadors were 35. As a positive change in such a short time –although it doesn’t include Turkey-, this number has increased from 35 to 40 as of July 9, 2015 according to the UN-Protocol’s “List of Permanent Representatives and Observers” as of July 9, 2015.

In this sub-section, through direct evidence and references, this paper will further demonstrate the horrifying impacts of the AKP Government’s ongoing policies, programs, and “social engineering” on girls and women, in particular, on those who are not aligned with its policies but simply prefer to continue their lives as modern and secular girls and women.

Turkey has faced the International Women Day on March 8, 2015 with a high record of women subjected to intense violence and murder (Kızılkoyun, Hürriyet, 2015).
“In 2014, 294 women were murdered, 30 thousand women moved to shelters, and 28 percent of these women were under 25 years of age. At least 57 women were killed since January 1, 2015.

Despite the changes in legislation, court decisions, order of protection for women in the form of keeping men out of the house, and despite the “emergency button” for such terrifying moments, violence against women cannot be prevented and murders of women cannot be stopped.”
Özgecan Aslan’s brutal killing led to a series of major social protests both in Turkey and abroad. Consequently, it was expected that it would be a milestone to stop such future killings, but it was NOT.

According to Kızılkoyun, after Aslan’s brutal killing on February 22, 17 more women were killed in Turkey (Hurriyet, March 8, 2015).
In order to draw attention to ever-increasing violence against girls and women in Turkey, Women of Izmir exhibited a memorial titled, The Most Painful Wall, for the International Women’s Day on March 8, that presents the names of 1,169 girls and women who were murdered in Turkey since 2008. (Diken.Com, 2015)

The Most Painful Wall was open to public for a month in Konak, Izmir.

The Most Painful Wall artwork along with the aforementioned death toll of girls and women also powerfully portray that Turkey is in a ‘most deteriorated status’. This is a result of the radicalization process that has a high cost to the society, both directly and indirectly in all levels and for all generations.

Christina Asquith, in her report titled, “Turkish Men Get Away With Murder” in New York Times on February 23, 2015, presents a shocking case:
“In 2014, the European Court of Human Rights ruled that Turkey had failed to investigate the suicide of a woman known to be abused by her husband. The judges found that “discriminatory judicial passivity in Turkey created a climate that was conducive to domestic violence.”

“A worrisome consequence is the rising number of perpetrators who apparently plan their crime with the intention of landing a sentence reduction. In December, 28-year-old Arzu Boztaş of Ankara was shot in her arms and legs by her husband. He then turned himself in, she believes, having planned his attack with the intention of appealing for a sentence reduction, based on cases he had learned about.” (Asquith, NYT, 2015)

As Asquith states in her above cited report, the perpetrators have been encouraged for their crimes “with the intention of landing a sentence reduction” in Turkey. Despite the Turkish Legal Code, the authorities by the encouragement of both the government and the Religious Affairs undermine it. In the case of “honor killings”, a total ignorance or protection within the family and community have supported the criminals for several decades. This also shows that the “radicalization” process has been going on for quite a long time, since the time of shutting down the Village Institutions and increasing the number of the Imam Hatips during the 1950’s. As a result,girls and women are left behind in terms of nourishment and development in order to keep them as if they are men’s property, having no rights over their own bodies and lives. This chain of alterations, practices and processes have, directly and indirectly, left boys and men behind as well. Therefore, the majority of the Turkish population’s “human development”, not only stopped, but also went backwards particularly in villages, rural areas, and the least developed sections of Turkey.

AKP’s three consecutive terms in power implemented the “radicalization of Turkey” towards the removal of “separation of powers – secular structure of Turkey”, merging state affairs with religious affairs in the name of “freedom of religion” since 2002. It seems that it is never enough to emphasize how girls and women have been used for changing the regime, being heavily victimized during the constant retrogression of Turkey.

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon of the United Nations,for the International Women Observation Day in March 2009, made a call to all: “We must unite. Violence against women cannot be tolerated, in any form, in any context, in any circumstance, by any political leader or by any government.” (UN Press, 2009)

As it is stated earlier, Turkey has been a member of the United Nations since the year it was formed in 1945. Turkeyhas also served at its most powerful body, the Security Council in the following terms: 1951 – 1952 , 1954 – 1955 , 1961 , 2009 – 2010 (Un.Org Security Council). However, Turkey’s latest nomination to the UN Security Council failed in 2014.

In her Al-Monitor report, Tulin Daloğlu points out another critical point of view, saying it is as if there is a deliberate effort in ratifying the UN’s International Treaties but not keeping up with it.

In her report, Daloğlu quotes President Erdoğan: “President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan also said that men and women can in no way be considered equal.” (Daloğlu, 2014)

President Erdogan’s statement [highlighting the inequality between men and women] therefore contradicts all the international agreements of which Turkey is a signatory regarding gender equality, the joint statement of 57 women organizations said.
Being a member state at the UN since its formation (1945) and having served at the UN Security Council four times over the decades, the Secretary General Ki-Moon’s well-known high priority agenda at the UN that is “girl’s education is a must”, doesn’t seem to have any weight and importance to President Erdoğan. On the contrary, converting the existing middle and high schools to religious based Imam Hatips and continuing building new ones for “girls only” –which Turkey had succeeded to get rid off once- have certainly brought back segregation, polarizing families and communities, further deepening tension and increasing pressure in all levels of the society.

This ongoing trend brings Turkey to a decline on the global level, particularly from the perspectives of “gender gap” and “women rights”. In the 2014 Global Gender Gap Report (see the below graphic) in the World Economic Forum Gender Inequality lists, Turkey is number 125 out of 142 countries. Along with this evidence, Erdoğan’s statement in Daloğlu’s report is nothing but the proof that he would not implement any policies to produce “gender equality.” The “segregation” of boys and girls within the national education system through Imam Hatips is the most important problem and barrier in front of “gender equality” and “women rights”. Unfortunately, oppression through religion or dogmas imposed on girls and women are not included in the key indicators in connection with “universal education”, “gender equality” and “women rights” in the 2014 Global Gender Report. These also must be included as key factors for “gender equality”, specifically in the Islamic world and developing countries, in the next year’s report (http://www3.weforum.org/docs/GGGR14/GGGR_CompleteReport_2014.pdf).

Although Turkey is a member of the United Nations and has signed international treaties and conventions since 1945, it has not kept up with them. The key problem is, signing these treaties and NOT keeping up with them does NOT cause any penalty or consequences for the responsible member state signatories and/or relevant governments from the UN General Assembly and/or the Security Council or international community at large! So, signing and/or ratifying these treaties remains like a global political show, rather than a display of true will!

Section III: Status of Muslim Women, the case of Tunisia

In contrast to Turkey, although the idea of the "Arab spring" has left a sour taste and negative ripple effects behind, there is a shining start for secularism and democracy for girls and women rights and equality as well as for Tunisia at large, according to Mohamed Messare in the following article titled, “Election complete, Tunisia is still a ray of hope for the Middle East”, The Conversation, December 24, 2014.
[…] The cradle of the Arab spring is once again leading the way. With the peaceful election of Beji Caid Essebsi, Tunisia, the first Arab country where popular protests proved to be enough to get rid of an autocrat, has just shown the world that an orderly management of a revolution was always an option on the table.

And, Berny Sèbe, in “How Tunisia survived the Arab spring Tunisia election”, an opinion piece that took place in The Guardian summarizes it as: “Four short years, Tunisia has gone through the entire cycle of ousting an apparently lifelong president, electing a constituent assembly, producing a new constitution, and organizing a round of fully democratic legislative and presidential elections.” (Berny, 2014)
UN-Women reflect on their website under the headline “Tunisia’s new Constitution: a breakthrough for women’s rights” (dated February 11, 2014):
"Tunisia’s new Constitution has captured international headlines. It enshrines many rights for women and is step in the right direction, according to many Tunisians."
Sana Ben Achour, women’s rights activist and law student, stresses that this Constitution is the first in the Arab world to give all Tunisians, women and men, the right to be presidential candidates. Similarly, she says that “Article 46 is proof of an impressive advance. From the outset, it safeguards the rights won by Tunisian women by referring to the Code du Statut Personnel (Personal Status Code) of 1959. Back then, the Code established a rights and freedoms panel unheard of in the Arab world. These included the right to divorce, to marriage by mutual consent and also the banning of polygamy.

While there is a “Breakthrough for women’s rights” in Tunisia, Turkey is number123 in the world on the Millennium Development Goals #3, Gender Equality. This brings back an earlier question: Doesn’t signing international treaties and conventions as a member of the United Nations, the Council of Europe, NATO, OECD, OSCE and the G-20 major economies bring any responsibility to the government? Furthermore, Turkey began full membership negotiations with the European Union in 2005 (UNDP.Org.Tr).

Turkey, a member of the Group of 20 – G20 Major Economies, has been ranked the 17th (g20.org, 2015), However, this hasn’t translated to a “human development” based economy. In contrary, Turkey, has become more dependable economically as the import of many goods reduced farming and internal production enormously. Those who benefit from ‘being one of the so called top 20 economies’ are mainly members of the AKP, and people who shift their life styles in the name of economic gain or advantages or job security, not pure belief. This is also very much the same for the Gulen Group in Turkey as well as abroad. A combination of these factor has escalated AKP’s power at the expense of “the half of the population.” There has also been a constant “decline” in the number of women in the work force since AKP has been ruling the country.

If Turkey does not use all of its power in favor of restoring all key secularist institutions, universal education without segregation, and more important, restoring the “separation of powers”, there is a huge risk that it may fall behind of Tunisia on “girls-women rights” and “gender equality.” UNDP Report: Turkey ranks 107th among 175 countries

According to the United Nations Development Program’s (UNDP) MDG Report on Turkey (2008), under the title, “Women in Turkey are greatly under-represented in the political decision-making process”, Turkey ranks 107thamong 175 countries on women’s representation in parliaments worldwide (UNDP, 2008).

Based on the UNDP 2008 Report, “women’s representation in politics in Turkey remains below the average of European, American, Pacific and African countries, both at the parliamentary level (9.1%) and at that of local government (less than 2%).”
Now, let’s look at the World Economic Forum’s 2014 Gender Gap Report through the “Political Empowerment” indicator in the below graphic:

According to the above index, and out of 142 countries, Turkish women’s Economic Participation ranks 132nd (second colon from the top), and under Educational Attainment category (third colon), it ranks 105th.

A system that hinders the nourishment and empowerment of girls at a very early age cannot produce sufficient number of “independent” and “empowered” women thinkers and decision makers in the political arena.

To that extent, Turkey’s Political Empowerment of Women ranking 113th (fifth and last colon in the above graphic) may be considered relatively better than the Economic Participation’s indicator (132).

However, “the overall concept of belief in the Islamic religion, unfortunately harshly enforced and tied up with covering head/hair with headscarf (or turban)as if the girls and women only can be respected and could have a place and role in family and society based upon obeying her family request and/or government policies implemented policies for that purpose. This political undemocratic practices and multi-direction pressure on the families, women and girls also have been extremely abused and used as a political tool in order to change the Turkish Constitution and remove granted secularist and democratic rights. During each election period, Erdoğan has chosen woman minister nominees to the parliament within his party quota and power for AKP.

On the other hand, once they are elected and enter the parliament, these “women ministers” appear to be voiceless and non-existent and it shows that the attempts to include them in the parliament was perhaps only to present Turkey as ‘democratic’ and ‘inclusive’ to the world. However, the image of secularist Turkey has been aalready altered on the parliamentary, therefore ‘constitutional’ level. This is evident through some “elected women ministers” of AKP, having their heads fully covered with a scarf often worn tied under the chin (Free Dictionary), where one-single piece of hair cannot be seen by others (in reference to showing a piece of hair is a sin) as well as the wives of the most dominant and powerful politicians in the Turkish governments since 2002, such as the wives of Erdoğan; former foreign minister and president Abdullah Gül; Ministry of the Treasury, Ali Babacan; former foreign minister and current prime minister Ahmet Davutoğlu-as of July 12, 2015 until a new government forms based on the last June 6 election. Wives of the top level officials in the Turkish government and women ministers of AKP illustrate a strong case for “regime change”.

Overall, none of the AKPs ministers, man or woman, was able to act or vote against Erdoğan or the doctrine of AKP. Should that happened, they would immediately be excluded from the party; and so they wouldn’t take the risk of being excluded or not being nominated again for the next term.

Section IV. Millennium Development Goals as regards Status of Women

This paper frequently referred or correlated some ideas with the 2000 United Nations Development Goals to be attained by 2015, in particular in reference to below Goals # 2 “Universal Education” and Goal #3 “Gender Equality and Empowerment of Women”. In this context, it will be necessary to look at the Eight Goals together to be attained by the end of this year.
The following section is taken from the UN’s “UN Millennium Goals” website: “The Millennium Declaration which enshrines eight time bound and measurable goals along with a roadmap to address key issues of human development by 2015.

These goals became known as the Millennium Development Goals - MDGs:
(1) Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger;
(2) Achieve universal primary education;
(3) Promote gender equality and empower women;
(4) reduce child mortality;
(5) Improve maternal health;
(6) Combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases;
(7) Ensure environment sustainability and
(8) Develop a Global Partnership for Development. 

While two specific MDGs are dedicated to the promotion of gender equality and women’s empowerment, MDG#3 and MDG#5, it has been gradually acknowledged that gender equality is not only a goal in its own right; “it is a prerequisite to the achievement of all goals.” (UN-Women, 2015)

At this point of time, an ongoing transition has been in process, particularly starting on the beginning of this year from the MDGs to the Post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) with 17 newly defined and refined goals, and it is targeted to be achieved by all the MEMBER STATES of the United Nations by 2030. The Post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals are described in the “SustainableDevelopment.UN.Org” as:
“Rio+20 reaffirmed the commitment to strengthen international cooperation to address the persistent challenges related to sustainable development for all, in particular in developing countries. In this regard, it reaffirmed the need to achieve economic stability, sustained economic growth, the promotion of social equity and the protection of the environment, while enhancing gender equality, women’s empowerment and equal employment for all, and the protection, survival and development of children to their full potential, including through education.” (SustainableDevelopmentGoals.Org)

Yet, increasing the 2000 MDGs Eight Goals to 17 is still in negotiation process to be approved during the 70th Session of the UN General Assembly in September 2015. In the Post- 2015 Agenda, MDG Goal#3 is transferred to Goal# 5 as: ACHIVE GENDER EQUALITY AND EMPOWER ALL WOMEN AND GIRLS.

In spite of this, it appears that Goal#5 of the upcoming Post-2015 SDGs to be attained by 2030 will still be very challenging, definitely for Turkey, the Middle Eastern and Islamic countries at large as long as the current and ongoing trends for “radicalization” and “religious” agenda are kept as top national policies and the annual budgets in these countries highly prioritize “religious values” rather than “girls and women rights” and “human rights and development.”

In correlation with the MDGs and the SDGs, and in transition from the very first to the second phase based on the initial 2000 Millennium Declaration, Ms. Mlambo-Ngcuka, Executive Director of the UN Women, further emphasizes the importance of women rights. She sees women rights as an integral part of the Post 2015 Sustainable Development Agenda towards the ultimate success in her delivered statement during the UN Women’s “First Regular Executive Board session of 2015” (February 9, 2015). In it, and under “Post 2015 Sustainable Development Goals” section, she states:
“The post-2015 development agenda is an unmissable chance to bring together all countries to make a universal, transformative deal and effectively fight inequalities, poverty, vulnerability and environmental degradation, so that all countries make progress in the three pillars: development, peace and security, and human rights.

A strong, dedicated gender equality goal, complemented by gender-sensitive targets and indicators in other goals must be part of the post-2015 agenda.

Four components of the post-2015 development framework are being negotiated in the UN General Assembly:
the declaration,
the goals and targets,
the monitoring and review,
and means of implementation and global partnership.
All must contribute to the achievement of gender equality, the empowerment of women, and the realization of women’s and girls’ human rights.

There is a greater responsibility for men in their dominant leadership roles to make far-reaching contributions.” 
Furthermore, Ms. Mlambo-Ngcuka, sums it ups and defines it as: “Gender equality is pre-requisite for the success of the sustainable development goals.” Based on these statements of Ms. Mlambo-Ngcuka, particularly in the case of Turkey, the Middle Eastern and Islamic countries, it is obvious that the ‘success’ of the SGDs, not only the SDG #5, but all of them, will be depending on whether the “gender equality” will be the “pre-requisite” for the all SDGs or not.

C O N C L U S I O N

As a ground and overarching proposal of this paper, the following definition is presented in the cover page: “Secularism is a principle that involves two basic propositions. The first is the strict separation of the state from religious institutions. The second is that people of different religions and beliefs are equal before the law” (Secularism.org.uk, 2015). And, it was followed by the Secretary-General of the United Nations Ban Ki-moon’s following call to all from the United Nations on “women rights”:
“We must unite. Violence against women cannot be tolerated, in any form, in any context, in any circumstance, by any political leader or by any government” (UN Press, 2009).

Throughout this paper, “secularism” is presented in several forms as the fundamental pathway for gender equality, women rights, and human development as well as in support and attaining the MDGs, and now in that line, the Post 2015 SDGs.

On the other hand, based on the facts and figures against gender equality and women rights in Turkey, it is shown how “radicalization” process has drastically taken Turkey backwards and altered its “secularist” principles, simply by using and putting religion before fundamental human rights. In this current violent, divided, tense, unjust, and unequal environment, and the “radicalized” world versus “girls and women development” and “human rights”, an overarching URGENT ACTION PLAN towards a GLOBAL SECULARIZATION Process is a MUST. On the other hand, “secularism” hasn’t even been brought on the UN Agenda or discussed as a channel to achieve the MDGs or SDGs so far. Thus, it should first be reflected, particularly in the upcoming SDGs as a pathway for achieving the new 17 defined goals. In that line, “secularism” should be extensively promoted through the UN System, intergovernmental and international organizations. In another words, “state and religious affairs” must be separated globally through a global Agenda such as the 2000 MDGs and Post-2015 SDGs.

Only ‘a global secular democratic political structure’ will provide a safe, secure, and healthy environment for girls’ and women’s equality and basic right to live against “dogmas/local customs, tradition, inherited and religious values.”

The Earth and the Humanity will be safe and sustained only when the entire world's political structure is transformed into a secular and true democratic political system in transparency.

Fundamentally, whatever this plan might be called, it should embrace and promote the separation of powers along with all forms of religions and sects and provided rights on the equal grounds.

However, it should not tolerate any religion's superiority over others under no circumstances!

The founder of Turkey, Atatürk, questioned and powerfully expressed importance of women’s role and place in society as: “Humankind is made up of two entities: man and woman. How could it be possible for the whole to progress if we let one half progress and neglect the other? How could it be thought possible that one half should reach the height of the skies when we let the other half wallow in shallow ground?”

From an era of Atatürk’s above vision, liberation of women, gender equality, Village Institutions, and universal education, to these times where the country is facing a reversal to an “’Islamic state” through a decade-long radicalization process, it has been a very unfortunate time-period for Turkey, not only for girls-women in Turkey, but also for the rest of the world within the largest context of human rights and development, security and peace of the world. It is also a widely known scientific fact that WOMEN, despite making up more than 50 % of almost each and every country’s population, have become a minority and marginalized (Unver, 2011) in their society in terms of equal rights, education, property rights, and have been secondary in decision making mechanisms within family, work-place, society, government, media, and corporate world!

Based on all above presented ideas, facts, and events, and along with the above proposed ideas on “secularism” to the United Nations, the below proposal to the UN from an NGO perspective will be the conclusion of this paper.

The Proposal:

The UN will be able to fully realize all the international treaties, MDGs, and from this point on the upcoming Post-2015 SDGs, only if a big penalty is imposed on countries who do not keep their commitments despite having signed and/or ratified the UN Resolutions, Conventions, and Treaties,

In conjunction with this, the UN Security Council must be reformed in a similar structure to the UN General Assembly, or the UN General Assembly must be further empowered in the same fashion as the UN Security Council.

If these ideas seem unrealistic, then it will be very difficult, if not impossible, to achieve the MDGs, and at this point of time and onward, the Post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals. In this overarching context, unfortunately, the word “HUMAN” is missing before the word “development” in the SDGs. It should be included and read as: “Sustainable ‘Human’ Development Goals”. Therefore, “human development and sustainability” must be the focal point of the Post 2015 SDGs to be attained by 2030. Since the word “development” has also a potential to be used against peoples’ will in almost all parts of the world, as it is manipulated in the case of “freedom of religion”, this should be taken into consideration by the member states of the UN General Assembly.

The ever increasingly worrisome political, economic, climate and environmental concerns of the world, should be improved in favor of the most “underprivileged and vulnerable”. As we’ve seen from the UN perspectives in this paper that “gender disparity” is not a problem of only Turkey and the Middle East, but also the world at large. As indicated earlier, more than 70% of the women of the world represents the poorest and the most vulnerable and underprivileged population of the world; therefore, they are not empowered with the necessary basic knowledge, capacity and tools in order to fight back with violations, threats, pressure and discrimination against them.

As an overall conclusion, the decade-long “radicalization” process and the negative current political climate for girls and women in the Middle East and the Islamic world may further hinder the ability to achieve the Post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals by 2030. This cannot be changed unless the word “human” is the center point of the SDGs along with “secularism” as an integral part.


_ End of part 2 of 2 _

"Radicalization of the Middle East: A Secular Perspective through Women and the UN Post-2015 Development Agenda
(As it was initially presented at Carleton University, Ottowa, Canada - March 14, 2015 - Power Point.)

Overview: Village Institutions of Turkey (Posted on March 30, 2015)

Acknowledgement
I would like to sincerely thank Prof. Özay Mehmet for his time, attention and encouragement for this paper as well as for his initial invitation and for giving the opportunity to present its earlier Power Point version at the Carleton University/Modern Turkish Studies Initiative.

Special Thanks To:
Prof. Özay Mehmet, Prof. Murat Saatçıoğlu, Bilgin Büberoğlu
Council of Turkish Canadians & Carleton University | Faculty of Public Affairs
Barış Ünver
Biography of the author could be obtained in the following link:
http://www.lightmillennium.org/biographies/bircan_unver_narrative.html

Disclosure:
This paper is updated and developed in June and July 2015 based on the initially presented concept at Charleston University, Ottawa, Canada on March 14, 2015. However, it doesn’t reflect the latest and ongoing violations against girls and women in Turkey since March 15, 2015. And, it does not focus on the current political climate either, particularly in connection with the June 6 General Election, although briefly mentioned when it is required re, P.M. Davutoğlu’s wife - headscarf.

Works Cited
1. National Secular Society, Secularism.org.uk – About: Retrieved on March 9, 2015 from http://www.secularism.org.uk/what-is-secularism.html.
2. United Nations Meetings, Coverages and Press Releases, “Violence against women ‘cannot be tolerated’ in any circumstance, by any political leader or government, says Secretary-General, at New York Observance”, March 5, 2009. Secretary General – SG/SM/12127-OBV/767-WOM/1720.
Retrieved from http://www.un.org/press/en/2009/sgsm12127.doc.htm.
3. Lowry, W. Heath, “Clearance K. Streit’s The Unknown Turks”, Bahcesehir University Press, Istanbul, 2011.
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October/13/2015
48. Executive Director signs host country agreement with the Government of Turkey
Statement by UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka on the host country agreement with Turkey for UN Women’s Regional Office in Europe and Central Asia, at the Turkish Mission to the United Nations, New York, 28 February 2014.
- See more at: http://www.unwomen.org/en/news/stories/2014/3/ed-statement-at-turkish-mission#sthash.7CzTWa7R.dpuf http://www.unwomen.org/en/news/stories/2014/3/ed-statement-at-turkish-mission#sthash.HYcRq93o.dpuf


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