Turkey 's Domestic Policies Regarding Gender Equality

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At the turn of the twenty-first century, the European Union (EU) accepted Turkey’s application for membership and recognized it as a candidate country at the Helsinki European Council in December 1999—a milestone in and of itself, as possible Turkish accession was, and remains, a contentious topic of EU enlargement. Now 15 years later, Turkey is still not an EU member state. Turkey’s domestic policies regarding gender equality, and specifically, female employment, are crucial in preventing its accession into the EU, by not fulfilling the Copenhagen Criteria, as established by the Copenhagen European Council, in the Treaty on European Union.
Applying as early as 1959 for associate membership in the EEC, Turkey has been a
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If Turkey wants to become a full member, and reap the political and economic benefits of being in the EU, they must change their domestic policies to be fully compliant with the Copenhagen Criteria, especially those regarding gender equality and female employment. As of 2014, female employment in Turkey is just barely above 30 percent, which is considered particularly low by the standards of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), as well as those of the EU, which has a goal of 75 percent employment for women and men alike in all EU member countries by 2020.

Background Within the EU itself, gender equality is an important, though often muddled, concept. It is important to consider this institution as the framework to view Turkey’s objectives as well as its current progress, as it determines both of these with the Copenhagen Criteria for membership and the annual release of candidate country progress reports. The standards of the EU are the standards Turkey must meet in order to accede. The European Commission proclaims gender equality as ‘one of the European Union’s founding values’ and cites the principle of equal pay in the 1957 Treaty of Rome. Since then, the EU has worked to establish equality norms that serve as an example for candidate countries to follow. Aldikaçti Marshall identifies these in two forms: ‘hard laws or binding legal measures and soft laws or nonbinding measures.’ There have been directives aimed at gender equality
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