Wife Of Turkish Muslim Brotherhood Network Leader May Become 1st MP To Wear Head-Scarf

Fatma Ünsal

Turkish media has identified the likely wife of the prominent leader of a Turkish human rights NGO closely tied to the Turkish Muslim Brotherhood as having submitted an application to become the first head-scarf wearing member of the Turkish parliament. According to the report:

Founding member of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) Fatma Bostan Ünsal submitted her application for candidacy for the June 12 election, saying that it was her duty to apply, to represent women wearing headscarves in Turkey.Submitting her application at party headquarters a few days ago, Ünsal says that although she had not received assurances from her party, she was nonetheless going to apply. “I chose the AK Party because I am one of its founding members. Other options were naturally ruled out,” she said. Ünsal had first declared her intention to run as a veiled female candidate when speaking last October at an AK Party meeting held in the K?z?lcahamam district of Ankara. Ünsal stated that her application was based on the words of Serap Yaz?c?, an expert on constitutional law, who called on political parties to nominate a candidate wearing the headscarf. Yaz?c? had declared that there was nothing in the constitution or in legislation that could constitute an impediment to their nomination. “KADER [The Association for Supporting Women Candidates in Politics], also made a call for the increased representation of women, including those wearing the headscarf,” Ünsal said. Ünsal believes that the 60 percent of Turkish women who wear headscarves but cannot enter politics also need to be represented. She says that she subsequently wanted to give the AK Party the opportunity to put forward a candidate wearing the headscarf. Beginning her political career as one of the 65 founding members of the AK Party on Aug. 14, 2001, political scientist Ünsal could not run as a parliamentary candidate due to her headscarf. While her husband entered Parliament, she could not even apply, despite her membership in the party’s Central Decision and Administration Board (MKYK), among her other posts. Her party meeting declaration attracted mixed responses from the AK Party. She thus voiced her intention to run as an independent candidate in the event the party does not add her name to the candidate list. Ünsal submitted her nomination to run as an AK Party candidate in Ankara and Ad?yaman, her husband’s hometown.

US media reports that Fatma Bostan Ünsal headed Turkish Prime MInster Erdogan’s party’s human rights unit until her husband was elected to parliament.

A report from the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs (JCPA) identifies Ahmet Unsal as the leader of MAZLUMDER, one of the organizations comprising the Muslim Brotherhood network in Turkey, According to the JCPA report:

MAZLUMDER was founded in 1991 as an alternative to the existing human rights organizations, one that would be sensitive to the issue of the Islamic headscarf. The organization has branches all over Turkey and says it is associated with Islamist organizations tied to Hamas/Muslim Brotherhood, Iran, and the Jamaat-e-Islami of Pakistan. MAZLUMDER also showed early signs of politicization, holding anti-US demonstrations during the Iraq war and joining IHH to protest a 2004 NATO summit. In 2005, MAZLUMDER began focusing on anti-Israeli rhetoric and since 2006 has been headed by Ahmet Unsal, a former Lockheed engineer and Amnesty International board member. Unsal served as an AKP Member of Parliament from 2002 to 2007 and was the representative of Turkey to the NATO Parliamentary Assembly. Currently, he is a member of the IHH board along with another MAZLUMDER board member who is also part of the AKP.

The JCPA report further says that during a demonstration in front of the Israeli Embassy, Ahmet Unsal threatened the destruction of Zionism:

On September 18, MAZLUMDER staged a demonstration in front of the Israeli Embassy in honor of World al-Quds Day.307 Some 30 people were reported to have carried pictures of Palestinians killed in the attacks and shouted “Down With Israel.” At the demonstration, MAZLUMDER Chairman Ahmet Faruk Unsal called Israel “the Zionist occupiers” and said that “the common conscience” would destroy Zionism.

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