Online Encyclopedia Search Tool

Your Online Encyclopedia


Online Encylopedia and Dictionary Research Site

Online Encyclopedia Free Search Online Encyclopedia Search    Online Encyclopedia Browse    welcome to our free dictionary for your research of every kind

Online Encyclopedia

Human rights in Turkey

Human rights in Turkey have long been an international issue and it gained importance recently, affecting the accession of Turkey to the European Union.


Police torture

(to be written)

Arbitrary arrest

(to be written)

Freedom of speech

There are several censorship laws that ban publishing reports on certain subjects, such as the Kurdish PKK: recently an Dmoz Open Project contributor was imprisoned for this.

The 2004 Penal Code added a new criminal offence of up to ten years in prison for "speaking against the national interest". US Congressman Frank Pallone, who is also an active member of Armenian lobby, said that this law would be used for people that affirm that the Armenian Genocide took place or object to the government policies regarding Cyprus. [1]
. The refutal, which is in concurrence with the decision of the U.K. Parliament
, was that it only refers to such national interests as independence, territorial integrity and national security.

Gender equality

Altough Turkey is way ahead of orthodox Islamic countries as Saudi-Arabia and Afghanistan, it still discriminates women to some extent, especially in the counry-side through the wide-spread practice, and implicit state approval of polygamous marriages. There is no implicit or explicit approval in the Penal Code however, and no claims of a marriage are recognized in courts unless a state sanctioned marriage is proven to exist, which is only possible between two monogamous partners.

The World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT) estimates that "One in ten women live in polygamous marriages" [2] .


1842 Midwife training began in Medical School education
1845 Basic education declared by edict as compulsory for boys and the girl child.
1876 Girls' Teachers' School established
1859 Middle School education for girls established
1864 Technical education for girls established
1869 Industry school for girls established
1876 The first Constitution (Kanunu-i Esasi) established basic education compulsory for boys and the girl child.
1880 Middle school preparatory schools for girls established.
1913 High school for girls established.
1915 The first university for women established.
1924 The law on the unity of education and teaching was enacted.
1932 Evening Vocational and Arts Schools for women established.
1938 Home arts and sewing courses for women established.
1945 The schools providing advanced study for women graduates of vocational schools were established.
1990 Advanced degree program for women's studies established at Istanbul University.
1996 First advanced degree for women's studies granted.
1997 Compulsory education raised from 5 to 8 year.


1926 Intentional miscarriage of the child and assistance to it regulated by law as criminal act.
1952 Mother-child health services initiated by the Ministry of Health.
1965 Law enacted on family planning: birth control methods declared partially free, abortion declared free only as medical emergency.
1985 Amendments to the family planning law: right to abortion the first 10 weeks of pregnancy.


1897 Women entered the labor force as salaried workers.
1913 Women entered the state service.
1914 Women began trade and commerce.
1915 Regulation made for women workers' social rights and security.
1930 First regulations made for the protection of women and children within the context of the General Public Health law.
1945 Maternity leave regulated.
1949 Regulations for old age pension and insurance made equal to those for men 1971 Equal pay for equal work principle entered the law.
1971 Prohibition against women working in heavy and hazardous conditions.
1990 The constitutional court annulled the law on spousal permission for women to work.
1993 Low credit applications for women to promote women's enterpreneurship.


1567 Women obtained property rights.
1839 Equality before the law accepted through imperial edict.
1858 The property rights of men and women equal before the law.
1876 Basic rights regulated with the adoption of the first constitution.
1911 The punishment for adultery established equal women and men.
1917 As Per the Family Law decision for the application of the Civil Code the following were established as law: the marriage contract concluded in the presence of official civil servant marriage age 18 for men , 17 for women forced marriage declared not valid.
1923 Declaration of the Republic.
1926 Monogamous marriage became compulsory with the adoption of the Turkish.
Civil Code; women obtained the right to divorce, child custody as well as property rights in marriage.
1935 The 12th International Women’s Congress held in Istanbul.
1938 The marriage age for minors regulated at 17 for men and 15 for women with parental permission. 1985 Turkey became a signatory to CEDAW.
1990 Annulment of legal justification for reduction of punishment for rape of prostitutes.
1995 Turkey signatory to the Beijing Declaration.
1996 Adultery annulled as criminal act for men.
1997 Women obtained the right to maintain their maiden names along with the last name of their spouses.
1998 Relevant measures regulated for protection against domestic violence through the adoption of the Law on the protection of the family.
1998 Family head declaration of income tax abolished; women and men declare individual incomes 1998 The crime of adultery for women has been annulled.


1923 Women established the ‘Women People’s Party’ to promote women’s political rights.
1924 The Association of Women’s Unity established for the same purpose.
1930 Women obtained the right to vote and be elected for local governments.
1933 Women obtained the right to vote and be elected for village administration.
1934 Women obtained the right to vote and be elected in parliamentary elections.
1935 First elections held where women had the right to vote and be elected.
1946 Multi Party politics began.
1971 The first female minister appointed extra-parliamentary.
1986 A female Member of Parliament became part of the ministerial cabinet.
1994 Assignment of first women prime Minister.
1995 Insignificant gains (%2.4) made in women’s representation in Parliament, since the 1935 elections when women’s representation was at its peak.

Violence Against Women

The issue of violence against women has entered the national agenda with the rising women’s movement of the 1980s.

1990 The Foundation for Purple Roof Shelter established The Foundation opened a Women’s Consultation and Shelter Center in Istanbul.
1991 Women’s Solidarity Foundation opened. The foundation opened first independent shelter for women in 1993.
1994 The Information Consultation Bank (3B) opened by the General Directorate on the Status and Problems of Women in order to provide consultancy and guidance for women’s protection against violence.
1998 Law on the Protection of the Family enacted, regulating measures for the protection against violence and criminal measures upon application of women and children suffering from domestic violence or upon the decision of the General Attorney in this regard. There are some 11 women’s houses/shelters in Turkey at present, as well as 6 guidance centers. In addition the Child Protection and Social Services Agency provides services through its 19 Social Centers to women suffering from domestic violence.

Turkish National Mechanisms Promoting Women's Advancement

1987 Committee for Policies for Women established within the State Planning Organizations.
1989 Women's unit was established at the premises of the Ministry of Labor.
1989 Center for Research of Women’s Problems established at the Istanbul University. Presently there are 13 such centers nationwide.
1990 The Women’s Issue made into an individual and separate sector within the national development plans and programs.
1990 Women’s Bureaus began to established at Greater Municipalities.
1990 (October) Re-institutionalization of the General Directorate on the Status and Problems of Women as per Law Number 3670.
1992 The DGSOW technical cooperation ‘Gender and Development’ project started with UNDP support.
1993 Women’s Bureaus established within all labor and civil service syndicates.
1993 Department of Statistics and Social Structure and Women established at the State Institute of the Statistics.
1994 Turkey participated in the UN International Conference for Development and Population (ICPD) in Cairo.
1995 Turkey participated in the World Conference on Social Development. The State Minister signed the Conference Declaration and the National Action Plan, calling for centralizing the human element in all development work.
1995 Turkey participated in the IV. World Conference on Women and became signatory to this conference with no reservations, Follow up work initiated at the national level.
1997 Department for Women in Rural Development established within the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs.
1997 Women’s status Units established within 12 provincial administrations in order to enhance efficiency of services for women.
1997 DGSPW Gender and Development project extended with UNDP support.
1998 Parliamentary commission established to assess the status of women within the framework of CEDAW.

Ethnic minorities


Turkey banned any public usage of Kurdish language in 1938. The new Turkish constitution of 1961 allowed Kurdish publications, but most were banned upon their appearance and during the 1980s several laws were intended to repress the use of Kurdish. Finally in 1991, the Turkish government legalized the use of Kurdish.

Until recently, the teaching in Kurdish language was banned, this ban was lifted and now there are two Kurdish private schools — for a population of about 10 million Kurds — but it is still banned from regular education, this being a disputed issue with the European Union, as European conventions require education in the areas historically and currently inhabited by Kurds.


(to be written)

Alleged State terrorism and military repression

(to be written)

Religious freedom

The equality of religion is not respected:

  • Islamic clerics have their salaries paid from the state budget, where the clerics of other religions do not have this privilege.
  • No religions, including Islam, are allowed to open religious schools. Education of a religion is only allowed by state appointed teachers who are required to have educational background in state run schools and universities which are secular by the nature of Turkish education system. Clergy are forbidden to act as the religious body that would be necessary to run a religious school. In the past, the Greek Orthodox Church's insistince on insulating itself from the national high education system resulted in shutdown of the Halki Seminary. Talks are currently underway to reopen this institution.
  • Even the Islamic people have trouble opening schools in Turkey. There is very extreme secularism in Turkey.

External link

  • Human Rights Watch: Turkey
  • Kurdish Human Rights Project
  • Turkey's Violations of Human Rights in Cyprus
  • US Department of State: Turkey Human Rights report

Last updated: 02-19-2005 20:17:04
Last updated: 03-18-2005 11:16:12