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Cablegate: Turkey: Public Diplomacy Supplemental Strengthens Ngos,

VZCZCXRO5553
RR RUEHAG RUEHAST RUEHDF RUEHFL RUEHIK RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHLN RUEHLZ
RUEHPOD RUEHROV RUEHSR RUEHVK RUEHYG
DE RUEHDA #0042/01 3011253
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 271253Z OCT 08
FM AMCONSUL ADANA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 4677
INFO RUEHAK/AMEMBASSY ANKARA 1220
RUEHIT/AMCONSUL ISTANBUL 1031
RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE
RUEHGB/AMEMBASSY BAGHDAD 0135
RUEHYE/AMEMBASSY YEREVAN 0010
RUEHSI/AMEMBASSY TBILISI 0011
RUEHKB/AMEMBASSY BAKU 0015
RUEHDA/AMCONSUL ADANA 1282

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 ADANA 000042

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

FOR EUR/PPD

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: SOCI PHUM KWMN KPAO
SUBJECT: TURKEY: PUBLIC DIPLOMACY SUPPLEMENTAL STRENGTHENS NGOS,
EMPOWERS WOMEN

ADANA 00000042 001.2 OF 002


1. (U) Summary: A U.S.-sponsored grant to a women's
organization in the Eastern Anatolia city of Adiyaman is
providing literacy education for 200 poor women and vocational
training for 70 more. The October 11 launch of the project
demonstrated America's value as a force multiplier as a visit by
the U.S. Ambassador catalyzed participation by dozens of key
regional and national political and business leaders, all of
whom praised this cooperative effort and echoed the message that
women's empowerment is critical for Turkey's development. The
project was funded under the FY08 Public Diplomacy Supplemental.
End summary.

Mission Turkey Focuses on Women's Empowerment
--------------------------------------------- --------------------

2. (U) Mission Turkey's FY08 Public Diplomacy Supplemental
included resources for projects aimed at improving economic and
social conditions for women living in southeastern Turkey. One
of the grants was awarded to the Anatolian Women's Association
of Adiyaman (AWAA). In its project proposal, the AWAA noted
that discrimination against women remains rampant in the region
and because of the strength of traditional local cultures where
women are often treated as "incubators and commodities."
So-called "honor" killings are still an issue. Only a few NGOs,
AWAA noted, are dedicated to bringing about gender equality;
AWAA advocates expanding basic literacy and business skills as
an important first step to move forward.

3. (U) The Association designed a project focused on basic
literacy and vocational training. Because nearly 30% of women
in Adiyaman province are illiterate, the Association is offering
200 women a two-month course in basic reading, writing and
speaking skills (because this is a Kurdish region, Turkish is
the second language for many participants). A second course was
created in collaboration with local textile companies and
provides training in handicrafts and basic entrepreneurship. A
third class for more highly educated women is in basic computer
skills and includes use of the internet, word-processing and
elementary website design.

Anatolian Women Garner National Attention
--------------------------------------------- ----------

4. (U) The AWAA effectively leveraged the U.S. grant of $14,000
by establishing cooperative agreements with the local and
provincial governments, giving them access to public school
classrooms and a vocational training center. AWAA also
recognized the importance of changing public perceptions about
women's issues and lined up important allies, including Adiyaman
native Mir Dengir Firat, a deputy chairman of the ruling AK
Party and a member of PM Erdogan's inner circle, and Rifat
Hisarciklioglu, a nationally prominent business leader who
chairs the Turkish Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges
(TOBB).

5. (U) During a half day of activities marking the launch of
the project, Ambassador visited the school where the literacy
classes are held and met with dozens of women who were just
learning to read and write, including one woman who read short
welcoming remarks for him. He also called on a group of women
learning embroidery and other skills that will give them
opportunities to work independently or in the local textile
industry. Finally, Adiyaman University hosted a 2-hour
conference featuring remarks by the Ambassador and other
visitors, including Firat and Hisarciklioglu.

6. (U) In his remarks, the Ambassador noted the United States
has worked for over 200 years and is continuing to struggle to
bring into reality the principle that all people are created
equal. The Turkish republic's founding principles, based on the
vision of Ataturk, contain similar goals. Having legal rights
in principle is one thing, but exercising them in practice is
different. Realizing the right to equality, he continued,
"requires hard work and dedication and he commended AWAA's work
and that of the project participants, who will be able to use
their new skills to provide for their families and contribute to
their communities.

Comment
-------------

7. (SBU) With relatively modest funding ($100,000 total devoted
to "Empowering Women"), Mission Turkey has been able to provide

ADANA 00000042 002.2 OF 002


project support to four women's NGOs in southeastern Turkey. In
addition to creating opportunities for hundreds of women to
improve their lives and those of their families through basic
education and vocational training, we have also worked to use
the grants as a way to encourage more discussion about the
importance of women's rights in Turkey's development aspirations
by running an op-ed by the Ambassador in a national newspaper.
The positive impact of this grant for the women's NGO in
Adiyaman and for U.S. standing there shows that in many regions
of Turkey it is possible to get a bang for our PD buck.
GREEN

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