The Role of Women in Turkey's Kurdish Peace Process
- Gülseren Onanç, Assembly Member, Republican People's Party (CHP)
- Sir Michael Leigh, Senior Fellow, The German Marshall Fund of the United States
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While Turkey has been part of the U.S.-led coalition in the fight against the self-proclaimed Islamic State group, Turkey has also been fighting Kurdish militants within its borders. Following the breakdown of the ceasefire between the Turkish government and the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) last year, clashes have continued to claim hundreds of lives. The PKK has also reverted to terrorist attacks against civilians, as well as the military and police. What is the current status of the peace process in Turkey? And what active role can women play in this process? These questions and more will be the focus of a roundtable discussion with CHP Assembly Member and women's activist Gülseren Onanç. GMF Senior Fellow Sir Michael Leigh will moderate the discussion.
Gülseren Onanç is assembly member of the Republican People's Party (CHP), the main opposition party of Turkey. Prior to this, she served as vice president of public relations from 2012-2013, where she sought to understand voting preferences, new challenges, and opportunities in various social groups. Onanç is a women's rights activist having worked for 13 years with civil society. She is founder of the Entrepreneur Women Association (Kagider), where she served as president from 2007 to 2011, and she has played an active role in the establishment of the Commission of Equal Opportunities for Women and Men in the Turkish Grand National Assembly. In 2009, she recieved the "World of Difference Award" from the International Alliance of Women (TIAW). She received a bachelor's degree from Istanbul Technical University and her MBA from Michigan State University.
Sir Michael Leigh is a senior fellow, consultant and senior advisor to GMF. He focuses on European Neighborhood Policy, Eastern Europe, the Mediterranean, and the Middle East as well as the future of the EU. He runs a program at GMF on the implications of the gas discoveries in the Eastern Mediterranean. In 2006, Leigh became director-general for enlargement with the European Commission after serving for three years as external relations deputy director-general with responsibility for European Neighborhood Policy, relations with Eastern Europe, Southern Caucasus, Central Asia, Middle East, and the Mediterranean countries. He began his current role after more than 30 years in EU institutions, including as a cabinet member for various commissioners and as director in the Task Force for the EU Accession Negotiations. He began his career as assistant professor of international relations at Johns Hopkins University and lecturer in international relations at the University of Sussex. He holds a bachelor’s degree in philosophy, politics, and economics from Oxford University and a Ph.D. in political science from MIT.