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Letter to the First Lady to help reinstate Ms. Kavakci PDF Print E-mail
June 15, 1999

The First Lady, Hillary Rodham Clinton,
The White House,
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.,
Washington, DC 20500.

Subject : An appeal to help reinstate the ousted Turkish Legislator, Ms. Merve Kavakci 

Dear First Lady,

May the blessing of God be always with the First Family and the United States of America. Amen.

You may have read or heard about a young woman Legislator, Ms. Merve Kavakci, who was elected to the Turkish Parliament in the recent elections, but was not allowed to take oath of the office because she appeared in the opening Session of the Parliament in a Muslim head scarf. I never met Ms. Kavakci when she was living in the Dallas area, and most of the things I know now about her were learned through the news media.  Rarely has a head scarf caused such a political uproar in any country, particularly a Muslim country. The strong reaction by Government officials to this apparently trivial matter is difficult to understand because she was wearing her head scarf at many occasions throughout the election campaign and nobody raised any objection to it at any time, but after her election to Parliament the situation changed dramatically. It was Ms. Kavakci's first career move in politics, and she was looking forward to focus her energies on women's issues but now she has been stopped. In most cases people are helpful and sympathetic to some one who is starting a career, but the young lady finds herself in a helpless situation in her country of birth. I feel that Ms. Kavakci deserves the support and encouragement of world leaders at this nascent stage of her career. I appeal to you to please help restore her  rights to the Turkish Parliament.   

Dear First Lady, this appeal for your help is being made because I know that you strongly believe and have always supported women's rights. In the last five years you have spoken very forcefully on the subject - all in a quest to elevate the status of women - not only in the United States but all around the world - China, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, South Africa, Ireland, Palestine, and many countries in Eastern Europe, Central Asia, South America and Central America. Women's problems in most countries, particularly in the developing world, are enormous and they present a special challenge for a young woman like Ms. Kavakci who is determined to make a difference. You have earned a great respect and admiration from women's groups around the world, particularly in the Muslim countries, and that is why I feel that your support of Ms. Kavakci will certainly be very meaningful and effective. Please ask President Clinton to privately speak or write to the Turkish President, Suleyman Demirel, for leniency? Anyway, I leave it up to your good judgment to find the best possible way to help in the solution of the problem.  I know Ms. Kavakci  will be eternally grateful  to  you for your help and efforts. Thanks and best regards.


Mr. M. Khaliq Qureshi,
1317 Shamrock Lane,
Plano, Texas 75093.
Res. Tel. (972) 380 - 5106. 


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