The Turkish women’s movement started during the Ottoman era, and it is still in process in the newly established Turkish Republic. This paper examined the Turkish women’s movement, which began after 1923 and found that the Turkish women’s movement had two abeyance cycles. The first abeyance period in the Turkish women’s movement took place between 1935 and the 1960s. In the first abeyance period, the reasons for the abeyance were economic problems, World War II, and the changing political arena in Turkey. In 1945, Turkey became a multi-party democracy, and this changed political opportunity structures. After 1960, the Turkish women’s movement picked up, but it was not very active until the 1980s. During this time, leftist organizations were very active, and they mobilized women in their organizations. The second abeyance period started after the 2010s when the religious Justice and Development Party in Turkey started to consolidate its power. From 2010 onwards, the political opportunity structures are closed for women, and women have a hard time to find elite allies for their causes. In the current political climate, even though there are many active women’s organizations, they are not effective.

Note on the Author

Gizem Kaftan is a current Ph.D. student at Boston University’s Political Science department. She received her Master of International Affairs from Northeastern University and her bachelor’s degrees from Koc University, Turkey. Her research interests include European politics, Turkish politics, and women’s studies.