"If a political party wants to come to power in Turkey, it must have the support of female voters; because parties cannot come to power without gaining their votes," solicitor Özlem Zengin, a member of the AK Party's Istanbul executive committee, told Daily Sabah. Prior to the AK Party's landslide victory in the Nov. 1 elections, men dominated the media during the electoral campaign, but it was the women who were the real players pushing the campaign. Despite remaining in a disadvantaged position for years and surviving in a male-dominated field, Zengin has been involved in the AK Party's executive committee for three consecutive terms and serves as a key example of how women are the driving force behind political movements. Zengin said, "For example, the Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) outwardly seems like a party that values women with its co-chairmanship system. However, there is a different situation now as men make up the majority of HDP voters. The Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) is also a male-dominated party compared to the others. Women are obviously more visible than men in the Republican People's Party (CHP), yet the CHP does not attract women's votes. The AK Party has the highest number of women voters," she said. Stressing that President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has been well-aware of the importance of women within a party organization since the beginning of his active political life, Zengin said, "The most important thing Erdoğan has discovered is that women are the source for decision-making mechanisms and political transformation."
The leftist parties seem to be the only ones that support female representation, yet all parties share an ideological focus on this subject
Recalling the past, she said, "We had no trouble organizing all kinds of programs in large halls. We were planning a program for 'Women and the Constitution' at a Kadıköy yacht club [in Istanbul]. We could have received approval by phone but when they saw us with our headscarves, they rejected our request. Erdoğan understood why we were upset and asked us to wait until they [the AK Party] win the elections." She repeated Erdoğan's words: "There will come a time when those who do not allow us to organize an event today, will button up their shirts when they see us and show respect. We can achieve this, believe me." She said, "Ultimately, it came true as expected. We worked hard, nonstop in faith and we won the elections. The panel of 'Women and the New Constitution' was held in the trendy [Istanbul] district of Bebek. The board's claims that pets and headscarves are not allowed in public venues were common in our country a short time ago, despite this being a primitive attitude."
Women who wanted to change the country and ensure that conservative women have a voice faced an insurmountable barrier. This is where President Erdoğan entered the scene and ensured that these women were given a public voice
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