First lady Emine Erdoğan underlined Saturday the pivotal role women play in politics, particularly in the success of ruling the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) and urged them to be even more involved.
Mrs. Erdoğan came together with the female deputies, ministers and party officials over the weekend, on the sidelines of the AK Party's 27th Consultation and Assessment Meeting in Ankara. Speaking at the meeting, she said, "Women are part of the success."
The AK Party has put special importance on the greater appearance of female politicians. In the June 24 parliamentary elections, the highest number of woman deputies, 53, was elected from the AK Party, which won 295 seats in total.
In 2007, the percentage of women represented in the Turkish Parliament was 9.1 percent. This number increased to 14.7 percent, with 81 deputies out of 550 in the Nov. 1, 2015 elections. Finally, in the latest elections, this number has reached 17.1 percent.
In addition to these female parliamentarians, the AK Party Women's Branch also has 4.6 million members and this is higher than any other political party.
She further stressed the significance of social projects, like the "Zero Waste" campaign, and asked that effective projects like this should be spread all over Turkey. She called on the deputies to extend the Zero Waste campaign to all provinces and implement the system in their municipalities.
Visiting a workshop for children, within the scope of the Zero Waste project, the first lady and her grandchildren looked at the products made by the kids.
Following the visit, she tweeted on Twitter account, "The AK Party believes that environmental awareness starts at a young age." The Zero Waste project involves saving everything from papers to discarded metals for future use or recycling them. The project is picking up the pace as the Prime Ministry and Parliament switch to a zero-waste policy in June. Recently, most places - from the Beştepe Presidential Complex to restaurants - are joining the campaign through their own recycling practices.
The sprawling Presidential Complex, which hosts the presidential office, a convention hall and a large mosque, recycled almost 14 tons of paper waste in the first five months of this year alone, saving 238 trees used in paper manufacturing. In total, some 29,655 kilograms of packaging waste were also collected at the complex.
Mrs. Erdoğan also touched upon the importance of animal rights and stressed that the law regarding the issue must be handled immediately in Parliament.
The first lady is known for her close interest to social and humanitarian issues. Her efforts in various areas have been recognized internationally as well.
In late September, she was honored with a special distinction award from U.S.-based Global Hope Coalition (GHC) for reacting with compassion and dignity to the plight of refugees.
She also received the Humanitarian Service Recognition Award at the Global Donors Forum in London earlier that month for her philanthropic efforts for the needy, especially the Rohingya Muslims.