LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Women not second-class citizens in Turkey

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As a proud husband and father, I was shocked to read a recent Op-Ed in The Washington Times (“Fathering daughters the old-fashioned way,” Web, March 27) that maligned Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdo, and used an unjustified attack on his beloved daughter to grossly mischaracterize the role of women in Turkey.

Contrary to the descriptions contained in that piece, women such as my wife and daughter receive equal treatment under the law in Turkey. They, along with millions of proud Turkish women, are not “second-class citizens.”

As one of the largest Muslim-majority democracies, our country serves as a role model for others in the region who seek to promote equality and tolerance. In recent weeks, for example, the Turkish government hosted the International Convention on Gender Equality in Ankara.

Instead of trying to score political points at the expense of the prime minister’s daughter - a private citizen who happens to be related to a government official - the writer could have focused on how Turkey has managed to seamlessly integrate such a broad spectrum of political and religious perspectives into its society. The piece could have described some of the international accords Turkey has signed or the legislation it has adopted to prevent sex-based violence. Instead, it attacks individuals like our prime minister’s daughter and mischaracterizes the chosen religion of the men and women of Turkey. That’s unfortunate and unfair.

NAMIK TAN

Ambassador to the United States

Republic of Turkey

Washington

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