Cablegate: Turkey: Activism Against Gender-Based Violence


DE RUEHAK #2089 3391455
R 041455Z DEC 08



E.O. 12958: N/A

REF: A. STATE 104889
B. ANKARA 2066

1. (U) Summary: To respond to the Department's call for
action in recognition of November 25 International Day for
the Elimination of Violence Against Women and the United
Nations' "16 Days of Activism Against Gender-based Violence"
(ref A), Embassy Ankara:

--engaged with a diverse array of civil society groups;
--reported on the current state of women's rights in Turkey
(ref B);
--conducted a clothing drive;
--hosted a digital video conference that featured the
President of the National Network to End Domestic Violence;
--posted summaries of these activities on the Embassy Ankara
website. End summary.

2. (U) Throughout November we met with a wide array of human
rights and women's rights organizations in Ankara to assess
the current state of affairs on women's rights and domestic
violence in Turkey. During the approximately 15 meetings, we
listened to evaluations of the current problems in Turkey,
offered encouragement and advice, and discussed specific
ideas for future cooperation. We summarized our findings
from these meetings in ref B.

3. (U) Clothing Drive: We held a three-week donation drive
during November to collect clothes for the Women's
Association Shelter in the southeastern city of Van. This
shelter provides temporary housing, food, and job training
assistance to local victims of domestic violence, as well as
to hundreds of Iranian and Afghani women refugees, many of
whom fled their home countries due to domestic violence or
forced marriage. Due to an unexpected recent influx of over
250 refugees from Afghanistan, the shelter was in urgent need
of blankets, winter clothes, and house wares We gathered 50
boxes of clothes, shoes, blankets, sheets, toys, and
housewares, including 25 new blankets donated by the Embassy
Spouse Network. The hundreds of women the shelter services
will benefit from the donations.

4. (U) Digital Video Conference: Working with the Office of
International Women's Issues, we hosted a December 1 DVC on
domestic violence, featuring keynote speaker Sue Else,
President of the National Network to End Domestic Violence,
Ruth E. Bennett (G/IWI), and Laura Carey (DRL) also
participated. Addressing an audience of twelve Turkish civil
society activists, Else shared her experiences and discussed
best practices and strategies for combating domestic
violence. Participants then discussed a variety of topics,
including: victim services, domestic violence training,
funding, and media engagement. The audience noted
similarities between problems and methods used to combat
domestic violence in Turkey and the U.S. The DVC generated
fruitful ideas and discussion, and we hope it will serve as a
starting point for further cooperation, both with the embassy
and among various Turkish civil society organizations who
heretofore have not had occasion to come together.

5. (U) Website: We posted summarizes of these outreach
activities on the embassy website:

Visit Ankara's Classified Web Site at ey


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