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TRNC Forum on ‘Economic Empowerment’ of Women

The forum in the TRNC was held on Saturday, March 12th, 2022 in Girne, with the cooperation of the Girne Municipality and Cyprus Turkish Entrepreneurial Women’s Association (GIKAD).

The event took place at the Acapulco Resort Convention Spa Hotel. It was presided over by the head of Social Affairs branch of Girne Municipality, Misli Kadıoğlu. The director of Cyprus Turkish Investment Development Agency, Ebru Kaptan Sertoğlu, GIKAD president İçim Çağıner Kavuklu, Chairman of the Board of Directors of SS İzmir Agricultural Development and Other Agricultural Cooperatives Union, Köy-Koop, Neptün Soyer, and theTurkish Union of Municipalities Advisor, Filiz Evran attended as speakers.

Opening the event, GİKAD President İçim Çağıner Kavuklu thanked everyone who had contributed and was participating in the Economic Empowerment of Women Forum in the TRNC.

Kavuklu said the forum was being attended by entrepreneurial women, from four corners of North Cyprus, each more influential than the other. They were producers and through their products advocate Turkish Cypriot culture and had contributed to the survival of that culture to this day. She wished that the forum would prove to be useful.

In thanking the Mayor of Girne, Nidai Güngördü, and his Municipality, who had always supported the work of GİKAD, Kavuklu said that they wanted that support to continue. To that end, she requested that the unused Girne Bandabulya building be transformed into a centre where the handicrafts of TRNC women could be properly marketed. She stressed the importance of this support to the workers in their efforts to contribute to the economies of their homes and the country.

Mayor Nidai Güngördü, said 8th March International Working Women’s Day recognised the importance of women’s contribution to the production process and hence the holding of the forum in cooperation with GIKAD. He emphasised that the pandemic and subsequent global economic crisis had unduly affected import based North Cyprus economy and manufacturing industry had become far more important these days.

Güngördü said that after the pandemic period, when the importance of production was revealed once again,

GİKAD’s activities to solve issues like educating women, encouraging production, bringing their produce into the economy and supporting them formed the cornerstone of their efforts. “Cities primarily consist of people but women are the lifeblood of cities”, he said.

North Cyprus, being an island country, was severely affected economically during the pandemic period. Production slowed and became less important in people’s lives. It was not encouraged as marketing had become difficult. With the cessation of tourist and student flow the effect reached such serious dimensions  that some people with pre-pandemic comfortable life styles, could have become needy in the process.

Güngördü suggested that the main theme of the Forum should be “generating produce” and pointed out the importance of offering up properly manufactured and marketed Turkish Cypriot products to the World. However before opening up to the World exporting to mainland Turkey next door, would be an important threshold to local manufacturing and the economy. It was necessary to heed the lessons learnt from the pandemic period in all its aspects.

During the 24-month pandemic period the 3 main elements in the field were the municipalities, police and health workers. All Mayors and Council Members in the 28 regions had worked body and soul to help their citizens.

“If people are cheerful in just one town then the whole of society and the country are cheerful too”.

At the moment municipal reform was a hot topic and he believed that the main thing to discuss in order to create strong, autonomous municipalities, was the adoption of the European Charter of Local Self-Government and its principles.

The largest task for creating a happy country fell on her women. Manufacturing should be done under proper conditions, packaged, labelled, marketed and presented to the consumer according to regulations. Each link in this chain should be carefully considered.

There were already local producers who had achieved significant successes around the World and he believed greater accomplishments would result via this Forum and similar activities.

The other speakers at the Forum followed these opening speeches.

The director of Cyprus Turkish Investment Development Agency, Ebru Kaptan Sertoğlu, said that her Agency was already supporting many entrepreneurs and would continue to support all, especially those who applied to them regarding manufacturing.

Chairman of the Board of Directors of SS İzmir Agricultural Development and Other Agricultural Cooperatives Union, Köy-Koop, Neptün Soyer, related her cooperative-system experiences over many years around Seferihisar near İzmir. Giving examples from her experiences, Soyer said that it was necessary for women and men to work together on savings and cooperative ventures. She was very happy to be in Cyprus and attending a meeting with entrepreneurial people. Local governments were extremely important in these issues and the presence and support of Girne Mayor, Nidai Güngördü at the Forum was significant.

Turkish Union of Municipalities Advisor, Filiz Evran, drew attention to the importance of work in women’s lives and gave details of the work done on entrepreneurship by the Union especially with women entrepreneurs in the Gaziantep Municipality, giving examples.

GIKAD president İçim Çağıner Kavuklu, said the Association was only recently formed but some good work was already being done. The Board of Directors consisted of equally creditable ladies. They had recently been donated a heavy duty vehicle (TIR) by a private company. Studies on visiting villages for various activities including education on entrepreneurship were due to start soon.

Source (Turkish): Girne Municipality

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