Prof.Dr. Abdurrahim Özgenoğlu

Yayın Kurulu :
Prof.Dr. İsmail Bircan
Prof.Dr. Oya Batum Menteşe
Uzman Nilüfer Ünal
Gülden A.Pınarcı
Web Tasarım:
Işıl İşler
Onur Karagöz
             3 Ayda bir yayınlanır.

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Ayşe Füsun Gönül

She  was  graduated  from  Middle  East  Technical  University- Economics  department. She  worked  at  international  trade  departments   in  private  banking  sector.  She  worked  in  non-governmental  organizations  as  volunteer.  Her  experience  in  NGO’s  is  as  follows:  Education  of  women  for  local  elections  in  Ka-Der –Ankara, Co-founder of  Ankara Culture Council,  Coordinator  of  a  project   about  women  health  in  province  Ağrı, Preparation   of  shadow  report   ‘the situation of women in Turkey’  to  United  Nations,  Member  of  Board  of  Directors  in  Middle East  Technical  University  Alumni  Association. She  is  still  working  on  a  project  in  local  governments  department  of  a  political  party  and  currently  studying  on  Public  Administration  and  Political  Sciences  masters  degree  programme  at  Atılım  University.



Human  rights  are no longer  the internal  problem  of  each  country  but  within the interest  area of  global  society .  Within  this  frame  it is accepted  that  global  society  can  interfere  the internal  affairs  of  nation-states  via United  Nations  for  human  rights  problems.

It’s  interesting  that  Western countries interfere the  human rights  problems  of  countries  which are  located  on  the  energy  resources   called  Broader Middle  East  and  North  African  Project  region (BMENA ).  The interference  principles  for  human rights  and  democracy  in  Middle East &  North African  ( BMENA ) region has  recorded   with  Alexandria  Statement ( Arabian  Reform  Subject )  and  G8 Sea Island Plan of Support for Reform documents  in 2004.

It’s  believed  that  the  interference  to the internal affairs  of  nation-countries  on behalf of democracy  is  a  proper  action  but  its  results  are  questionable. In  this  article  the  current  democratic  situation  of the interfered  countries and  the  loss of  women  rights  in the  BMENA project  region will be analyzed.

When  we  read  the Alexandria  Statement,  we  see the  Arabian  world’s  declaration that  they are  in  need of  urgent  political, economic, social  and  cultural  reforms.   They  declared  that  Arab countries  which  have  not  ratified  the following set of international  and  Arab agreements should do so now: the Universal Declaration of Human Rights,  Civil and Political Rights Convention, International Covenant On Economic Social and  Cultural  Rights, all the international  women rights  agreements  which  eliminate  the discrimination  against  women,  Convention of the Rights Of  the  Child and the similar agreements  under  the headline of  Unleashing Freedoms.

The  below proposals  pointed  to women  are important:

1- Developing micro and small enterprise funding programs to help solve the unemployment problem, while paying special attention to women.

2- Empowering women to participate in the national work force and to  make use of their experience and qualifications.

3- Eradicating  illiteracy, especially among women, in no more than ten years

In  G8 Sea Island Plan of Support for Reform document  which  also takes the Alexandria Statement  as  reference  we can see the commitments  of  G-8 countries  to  the countries  located  in  BMENA region. These  commitments   are :

i- Expanding and improving education opportunities for girls and women, including by providing assistance to help local communities have  access  to  learning  centers  and schools.

ii- Enhance  support  for  business, entrepreneurship, and vocational  training programs to help young people, especially women, expand their employment opportunities

iii- Supporting regional efforts to expand women's participation in political, economic, social, cultural, and educational fields and by enhancing their rights and status in society including by supporting training for women interested in running for elective office or establishing or operating an NGO; and bringing together women in leadership positions from  G-8 countries and the region

Representative G-8 activities include : 

  1. Italy  provides technical assistance to, and support of, electoral processes in Afghanistan and  Yemen.
  2. Canada supports Egyptian organizations working on issues of basic education and employment to include focus on the fuller participation of girls and women.
  3. France supports the development of women's rights in Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Jordan, Palestinian Territories and Lebanon in cooperation with UN Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM), in order to strengthen efforts to develop their participation in society and to make them aware of their rights.
  4. Germany is supporting partners in Jordan, Morocco, and Yemen in promoting gender equality, including through increasing women's access to professional opportunities and participation in public life.
  5. Japan is providing support to empower women in Jordan, Egypt, and the Palestinian Territories in order to enhance their leadership role in the society.
  6. The United States is funding regional women's campaign schools in North Africa, the Levant, and the Gulf that provide political skills training and assist women who wish to enter into electoral politics.
  7. The European Union supports the Arab Women Organization and the Jordanian Women's Union.
  8. Canada supports the development of centers in the Palestinian Territories providing a range of technical and vocational training opportunities for Palestinian women to improve their economic situation.
  9. The United States is supporting nine Junior Achievement student chapters, directing the business internship program for Arab women, and administering seminars for executives and mid-level managers in Bahrain, Egypt, Oman, Lebanon, UAE, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait  and  Morocco.

The  desire  of  Arabian world  for  democracy  reforms  and  the  proposals  of  G-8 countries  sound  very good  but  there  is a contradiction between  the  proposals  and current  democratic  situations  of  BMENA  countries  and  this  is  a historical  irony.


US  interfered  to  Iraq  in  2003  and  3.000.000 people  died  till  withdrawal  of  America  from this country  in  2011.  The  number  of  widows  is  estimated  as  1.000.000. These  women  live  in very bad  conditions. Government’s  aid  is  very  inadequate  to survive.  The  number  of  orphans  is approximately  4.000.000.-  in  Iraq.
The  parties  and  groups  under the  hegemony  of  Shi’i  region  recommend  men  to marry  two  women in order  to support  these  widows  economically. There is  ‘mutaa marriage’  in Shi’i culture ( men and women can marry for a period  that they  determine )
However  the civil code  providing equal  rights  for men and women in  heritage  and  divorcement  which was  accepted in 1953  is  ignored  today. The women lost  their  civil  rights.  Shi’is  give  fetwa  for  women to cover  their  heads, not to walk alone and not to drive  car.  The  women who cannot  live  under  these  conditions  in Iraq  escape to other Arabian  countries  and  European  countires  and  live  as  refugees.  The  resolutions  of these  women to survive  are  generally  against  human  honour.
During  the  interference  years  of  US, many  women  are  abducted  for  prostitution  to other  countries.  Today  most  of  the  women who  are working  in  night clubs  and  similar  places of  Middle East  countires   are  from  Iraq.  According  to the estimations  of  Iraq  Women  Freedom  Associaton , 4000 women  are  lost  from  2003  till  2011.  Twenty  percent  of these  women were under the age of 18  when they were lost and there is  no information  for any of them.  Families and tribes erase these women from their  social  memmories. Only 100  families among  the  families of these  4000 women reported  their daughters  as  lost   to the  authorities. These  women  live  as shadows. The  former  human rights  vice prime minister  Aida Ussayaran  says that militia  forces  are  responsible  from  rapes and some of the militias are  from police organization and  families do not want to send their girls to schools or they send the girls to schools with  veil  on their  faces. She  says  that  ‘I do not remember a period worser than  today’  in  her  statement  to Observer journal  dated.08.October.2006
A  news  in New York Times dated.29.May.2007  about  the  refugees in Syria  mentiones  how  women are  miserable. In this  news, Umm Hiba ( mother of Hiba ) says that  she  escaped  to  Syria  with her father and daughter  and  they  couldn’t  find  job  as  the other  refugees  and  as  they  had to buy medicine for the diabetic father, Hiba started  to work as a belly dancer in a night  club . Hiba’s  mother  summarizes  the tragedy  of  aggrieved women  as ‘  WE  LOST  EVERYTHING  IN  THE  WAR  EVEN OUR  HONOUR ’.
When  US  interfered  Afghanistan , G.W.Bush’s  wife  Laura  Bush  commented  that  ‘Afghan  women  rescued !’  In the new  Afghan  Constitution  it is written  that ‘ men and women have equal  rights  and  responsibilities according  to law.’ Americans  interpreted  that  new  Afghan Constitution  (consisted  of  246  articles)  provided  equality between sexes.  In  reality  the key point of the Constitutuon is  ‘ A  law cannot  be  against  Shair’a. ’ The president of Afghanistan  supreme court  who  is  a mullah  educated  in  Pakistan  medresseh  says  that  ‘Man  has  right  to  work’ and  ‘woman  has  the right  to  obey  to her husband! ’ Some  of  the  women  parliament  members  opposed  to  the  new  family  law  and  caused  marriage  age  of  women  to  increase  from  nine to  sixteen and  they  considered  this  result as a victory !
In  Afghanistan  twenty  percent  of  girls  can  go  to  school.
In  Egypt, Tunisian,  Libya  and  other  countries  where there is the possibility  of  Muslum Brothers  to  come  into  power, the rights  of  women  are  becoming  worser  and  will be   worser . In these  countries  the  women  are  forced  to  wear  sheet  and  turban  physycologically,  Hamas  forbids  women  to go to  beaches, and  there  is  the  possibility  of abolishment  of  mixed  education. The  danger  of  the  placement of discrimination  between men and women in all areas  of life  is  possible.
Western  countries  are  still planning  to interfere  other  countries  in BMENA geography on behalf of democracy and  there  will  be  a risk  for the loss of  women rights in these new  intervened  areas.  

C O N C L U S I O N : 

In  globalization  reality,  to give  guidance  to a country  by  another country  or  by  international  organizations  can be acceptable  if  the  human rights  are not  getting  worser  than before.  The  tragedic  examples of  Afghan and  Iraq  women constitute  a historical  irony  with the  sovereign  countries’  interference  on behalf of democracy.
The most  acceptable  action  is  that  countries  must  fight  for  democracy by themselves.
The  best  expression  for  globalization is ‘ TO EAT  A  BREAKFAST  OR  TO BE  A BREAKFAST’.  Unfortunately  the  women of  BMENA geography  became  the  breakfast
of  globalization.

R E S O U R C E S :

1- Alexandria Statement - March 2004
“Arab Reform Issues: Vision and Implementation” Bibliotheca Alexandrina
2- Sea  Island  G 8  Summit  Document- Plan of Support for Reform- 2004
3- Gül  Atmaca- Reporter- Article  of  BMENA  &  Women 
4- Hüsnü  Mahalli – Conversation- METU Alumni Ass. Bulletin- Nr: 213
5- Prof. Türkkaya  Ataöv- Türksolu  Bulletin –Nr. 264