KAGIDER members Berrin Kuleli, Ayşegül Özsan, Dilek Bil, Serap Zuvin, Berna Akyıldız, Tuğba Yazıcı, Secretary General Rina Altaras, Director of KGLM (Women Entrepreneurship and Leadership Centre) Özgül Mutlu Erdemli, Project Assistants Özge Birişik and Nuray Özbay and also MEP of Justice and Development Party Fazilet Dağcı Çığlık, Republican People’s Party County Commissioner Didem Engin, Coordinator of Women for Women’s Rights New Ways Evre Kaynak, Director of Turkish Cultural Foundation AFS Intercultural Exchange Programs Fatma Akgün and Bilge Fırat from SUNY Binghamton participated to a study visit in Brussels which was organized by the NATO Public Diplomacy Division and KAGIDER Brussels Office. During the visit, Turkish women were represented on the highest level in the international platform and the participants were involved in a series of briefings and meetings where they received detailed information about NATO and the EU’s international policies and their affairs with Turkey.
The first day of the program was held in NATO headquarters and was hosted by Yeter Yaman-Naucodie, who is the information officer for Turkey, Azerbaijan and Central Asia. During the briefings, KAGIDER members and other representatives were informed about the changing international security and gender policies of NATO, security and women, NATO-EU relations, role of NATO in fighting terrorism and NATO’s Science for Peace and Security Program from the NATO officials. The participants also participated to the lunch in NATO, which was hosted by Jean François Bureau, who is the NATO assistant secretary general for public diplomacy. In the meetings, the increasing sensitivity of NATO toward gender issues and the situation of women were emphasized, and it was noted that the gender perspective would be involved in the NATO’s missions. The program ended with the visit to H.E. Ambassador Tacan İldem, who is the Turkey’s permanent representative to NATO.
The second day was organized by Aslıhan Tekin, who is the Brussels representative of KAGIDER. Within the program, the European Policy Center (EPC), which is one of the most influential NGOs about EU policies; the European Women’s Lobby (EWL), which is one the biggest women lobby groups in Europe; Turkish Industrialists’ and Businessmen’s Association (TUSIAD) Brussels Office; the European Council; and the European Commission were visited. While the current situation of Turkey in the EU accession process and the EPC’s upcoming activities about Turkey were discussed in EPC, the women’s lobby in Europe was explored and the common problems of women were underlined in the EWL meeting. After lunch, which was hosted by Bahadır Kaleağası (Permanent Representative of TUSIAD to the EU and BUSINESSEUROPE) and Aslihan Tekin (Brussels Office Representative of KAGIDER) and to which Yeter Yaman-Naucodie and Kader Sevinç (EU representative of the Republican People’s Party in Brussels) also attended, the EU Council and the EU Commission were visited. In the meeting with Jean-Christophe Filori (head of the Turkey team, EU Commission, DG Enlargement), it was emphasized that a critical year was waiting for Turkey in 2009 and that the reform process should be accelerated.
In the last day of the program, the Permanent Delegation of Turkey to the EU was visited and a meeting with Kerem Divanlıoğlu (Second Secretary) was held. Divanlıoğlu underlined the prominence of the NGOs like KAGIDER and the strong lobbying activities in Turkey’s accession process to the EU.
The study visit, which was realized with the participation of the Turkish women representatives that was composed of mainly KAGIDER members and professionals, was very successful in terms of representing Turkish women in both the EU and NATO. KAGIDER’s activities to achieve gender equality and its efforts for Turkey’s accession to the EU were appreciated.