The European Union and the Council of Europe’s joint action on “Fostering women’s access to justice in Turkey” held the first of a series of multi-stakeholder meetings in the province of Ordu, in Turkey on 18 May 2022, to raise awareness of barriers to women’s access to justice and facilitate exchanges among key stakeholders on how to improve women’s access to legal aid and assistance.
Representatives of the Union of Bar Associations of Turkey, Ordu Bar Association, Ordu University, public agencies and civil society organisations attended the meeting and shared their views on challenges regarding women’s access to justice and possible solutions for improvement.
In her opening speech, Vice President of the Union of Turkish Bar Associations Atty. Sibel Suiçmez noted that “One of the aims of this project is to improve women's access to justice by increasing gender sensitivity and eliminating barriers in justice system. In this process, I hope to continue working together to ensure gender equality and eliminate violence against women in Ordu, where cooperation between the public authorities, civil society and the bar association is strong.”
Prof. Dr. Kadriye Bakırcı from Hacettepe University drew attention to the problems in women’s access to justice: deficiencies in accessing quality legal aid, inadequacies in data collection, challenges in accessing rights, and the current legislation being applied differently among provinces. She also commended on good practices and stressed the importance of spreading them and increased collaboration in the field.
The meeting was an important step in building local strategies and partnerships in Ordu and to improve access to judicial services, including legal aid for women, especially victims of violence.
Similar meetings will take place in three additional provinces (Diyarbakır, Muğla and Nevşehir) before the end of October 2022.
The action also helps to develop the capacity of lawyers to provide gender-sensitive legal aid services for women in these four pilot provinces, and to provide small grants to projects implemented by civil society organisations aiming to increase women’s legal awareness and capacities as rights-holders.
The action entitled “Fostering women’s access to justice in Turkey” is part of the European Union and the Council of Europe’s joint programme entitled “Horizontal Facility for the Western Balkans and Turkey 2019-2022”.