By KRISTEN STEVENS Followers of the Turkish Daily News might have noticed this paper's head-on coverage of women's issues by reporters dedicated to unearthing truths about the people behind the politics. They both reflect and determine this paper's humble mission to tell Turkey's stories from every possible angle. Last month the TDN explored recent findings exposing the lack of women among hard news reporters, columnists and management in Turkey. This newspaper marked International Women's Day with a cover story about a local women's group helping young women at risk of being killed by their families in the name of honor. At the World Economic Forum's 2007 mini-Davos summit, the TDN was the only news outfit to report the sudden turnaround of State Minister for Women and Family Affairs Nimet Çubukçu as a believer in a quota system for women in this government with less than 7 percent female representation.In an effort to complement this coverage with discoveries that celebrate women living in Turkey, the TDN introduced �Women in sight� last weekend. With a look at women's issues and interests in Turkey � from portraits of pioneers to players in the story, from fashionistas with a conscience to literary divas � readers can turn here to find women speaking for themselves.
Tales to tell
More than 80 percent of Turkey's population will be living in cities by 2015, up from 41 percent in 1975, according to the UN Development Program. The increasing access that young women in cities have to education, jobs and freedoms often brings them into conflict with their parents generation. This unfolding dynamic presents new stories every day, some inspirational and others tragic. A covered woman cannot enter Parliament but her stricter, Sharia-observing husband is free to pass laws that address or ignore her. The ruling party's call for �religious freedom� these days refers to a growing number of young headscarf wearers, brushing aside the bigger battle here for women's access and protection. Up against the country's 50 percent rate of unregistered labor, women also represent an enormous untapped labor resource in this EU-candidate country. Amid all of this discussion however are top executives and headscarved skateboarders with tales to tell.With �Women in sight� TDN will go beyond the hard news to reach stories with dimensions often overlooked in this many-layered society. Tune in for features such as Turkey's professional women's football (soccer) league that seems to be hidden in plain view. The experience of a young Turkish mother starting a reiki healing center might share the page with a female rapper. Or join us as we peruse the bazaars in the country's Southeast, identifying local foods and customs. Women have been buying many of the same goods in the bustling bazaar of Antioch, or Antakya, for 2,000 years since it lined the world's first lamp-lit street outside the hippodrome.This is an exciting time to hear from women in Turkey and it's a privilege to be a medium for their stories. Write to us, share your views and tell us about the exciting things women are doing near you.