The most important woman in Turkey: Meet Figen Yuksekdağ, whose party tries in vain to keep Erdoğan honest

Alec Scott in Politico:

ScreenHunter_1476 Oct. 30 20.12Figen Yuksekdağ would be a superstar in a country less suffocated by macho politics.

As co-chair of the party which unexpectedly robbed the Justice and Development Party (AKP) of its ruling majority in June, Yuksekdağ is one of the most important politicians in Turkey today. She is also the embodiment of the leftist Peoples’ Democratic Party’s (HDP) commitment to gender equality, in a country that ranks 120 of 136 on the Global Gender Gap Index. All positions in the HDP are split between a woman and a man as a matter of policy, but it would be ludicrous to view Yuksekdağ as “the token woman.”

Since the age of 17, when she was arrested for the first time in a street protest in southeast Turkey, she earned her political stripes with decades of activism before becoming co-chair of the party at its formation three years ago. She is also the kind of politician who dismisses Tansu Çiller, Turkey’s first — and only — female prime minister, as “a cheap copy of Margaret Thatcher.” It is safe to say Yuksekdağ is not a cheap copy of anyone.

More here.