Turkish movie stars join forces with UNDP to fight violence against women

Dec 1, 2016

Acclaimed Turkish actors Mert Fırat and Melisa Sözen are starring in a new UNDP advocacy video that takes on domestic violence in Turkey and the region with a powerful message: “Violence has no excuse”.

The campaign is part of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)’s efforts to combat violence against women in Eastern Europe, Turkey and Central Asia. It aims to mobilize women and men to stand united and reject domestic violence, challenging notions that it can ever be justified.

Talking about his participation in the project, Mert Fırat, a well-established film and TV star, makes a powerful plea for gender equality: “This is a moral problem. Whatever our faith, if we want to make progress as a civilization, as humanity, if we want to grow and improve, I think we should ensure gender equality and make sure no one rules over another.”

 “Expecting a solution from only women is not enough. Men should also contribute. Our laws need to be modern, and implemented more rigorously,” he added.

Famous for her role in the internationally-acclaimed movie “Winter Sleep”, which received the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival in 2014, Melisa Sözen remarks: “Unfortunately, violence against women is one of the biggest problems in Turkey. We are in 2016 and yet we still have to do a campaign against this. It’s embarrassing. But this is how we can help, and I’m very happy to be a part of this”.

UNDP is working with local partners and other UN agencies to end violence against women and girls in countries in the region. One crucial element of these efforts is to engage men to be equally involved to women in saying no to violence. Campaigns like this one aim to do just that.

Despite recent progress in legislation, prevention and prosecution, many women and girls in the region still experience high levels of violence throughout their lives. On average, 1 in 4 women in Eastern Europe and Central Asia face physical abuse from their partners while 1 in 15 women face sexual violence from a non-partner.

In addition to Fırat and Sözen, the campaign also attracted the support of actresses Selen Uçer and Müge Boz and actors Özgün Aydın and Volkan Yosunlu. The video was directed by award-winning director İlksen Başarır, a strong supporter of gender equality in Turkey.

The campaign was launched to coincide with the UN-led 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence Campaign taking place from 25 November to 10 December. The video will be disseminated on social media, in cinemas, and select TV channels.

Contact information

For more information, please contact: florin.marin@undp.org and faik.uyanik@undp.org