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Cablegate: Nomination for 2009 International Women of Courage

VZCZCXYZ0005
PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHAK #1703 3291604
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 251604Z NOV 09
FM AMEMBASSY ANKARA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 1339
INFO RHEHAAA/NSC WASHDC

UNCLAS ANKARA 001703

SIPDIS

PLEASE PASS TO S/GWI AND EUR/SE

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: KWMN PREL KPAO PHUM
SUBJECT: NOMINATION FOR 2009 INTERNATIONAL WOMEN OF COURAGE
AWARD

REF: SECSTATE 111471

1. (SBU) Full Name: Ilknur Ustun
Job Titles/ Associations: President of KA-DER Ankara Branch,
Turkey Coordinator for the European Women Lobby, and General
Coordinator for Women Coalition
Date of Birth: May 18, 1965
Country of Birth: Turkey
Citizenship: Turkish
Address: Bulten Sokak 51/25 Kavaklidere, Ankara
Phone Number: 90-542-681-12-22
E-mail: ilk 3@yahoo.com
Passport Number: TR-L 916151
Languages: Turkish

2. (U) Embassy Ankara would like to nominate Ilknur Ustun,
President of the Association to Support and Educate Female
Candidates (KA-DER) Ankara Branch, Turkey Coordinator for the
European Lobby, and General Coordinator for the Woman
Coalition for the Secretary's International Women of Courage
award. Ms. Ustun has been actively working on women's issues
for 20 years and she has been the president of KA-DER's
Ankara branch for the past six years. She has displayed
outstanding courage through her efforts to eliminate
discrimination against women in every walk of life, with a
specific focus on increasing women's participation in
politics.

3. (U) As an activist, one of Ms. Ustun's main areas of
success is her ability to bring together Turkish women from
different segments of society such as Kurdish women, women
with headscarves, secular women, and feminists to work as a
team and to overcome some of the traditional differences in
Turkish society. Her contributions to the feminist movement
have resulted in significant gains for women and paved the
way for enactment of Civil Code reforms. The new code
establishes provisions for the equal division of property,
sets 18 as the legal minimum age of marriage for both women
and men, gives the same inheritance rights to children born
outside marriage as those born to married parents, and allows
single parents to adopt children.

4. (U) Ms. Ustun has been trying to eliminate the
"glass-ceiling" for women in politics and to sensitize local
administrations, governments, and political parties with
regard to gender issues in society. Ms. Ustun has
successfully lobbied for the establishment of equality
committees at all levels of government. As a result of her
relentless efforts, she contributed to the establishment of
the parliamentary Committee on Equal Opportunities for Men
and Women in March 2009. In addition to this, as a member of
the European Women Lobby (an umbrella organization formed by
2000 women NGOs from EU and candidate countries), she
launched and coordinated campaigns to increase female
participation in local elections, such as the "50/50
equality" and "parity" campaigns. Because of her gender
mainstreaming work, seven women became candidates for village
headman-ship (muhtar) in the March 2009 local elections.
This was an impressive accomplishment in the face of
overwhelming numerical male domination of local Turkish
politics.

5. (U) Ms. Ustun has faced both open and veiled threats while
working on women's issues. When the GOT wanted to regulate
the issue of adultery in the Turkish Penal Code amendments,
Ms. Ustun led female members of NGOs to launch a protest
campaign. One of the acts of protest was to march to the
Turkish parliament with over 1,000 women assembled from all
over Turkey. After this event, a fundamentalist newspaper,
Vakit, labeled Ms. Ustun as a "dishonorable" women on its
front page and by doing so, Ms. Ustun believes that the
newspaper made her as a target for assassination. As an
indirect threat and form of harassment, state officials
occasionally ask her details of her identification
information due to her activism in the southeast.

6. (U) Embassy Ankara is nominating Ilknur Ustun for the 2009
International Women of Courage award. Please direct your
questions to Political officer Rudney Hunter at
hunterrm@state.gov.

JEFFREY

"Visit Ankara's Classified Web Site at http://www.intelink.s
gov.gov/wiki/Portal:Turkey"

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