In 2004, Turkey’s largest daily newspaper, Hürriyet, joined forces with UNFPA and the Turkish Government. They created a nation-wide campaign, involving a number of partners and goodwill ambassadors, to shed light on the widespread problem of violence against women and girls.
The Government, working closely with UNFPA, had already begun work on a separate campaign to end violence against women, and had mobilized other civil society partners. Although the two campaigns didn’t exactly merge, they did complement each other, and UNFPA supported both, forming a kind of bridge between them.
The big breakthrough came when the entire national football league signed on. In 2004 and 2005, during half time at key football matches, well-known football stars donned T-shirts with the campaign slogan, joined arms and urged their fans (mostly men) to treat their women with dignity and respect. Football games are televised nation-wide and attract huge audiences of up to 20 million.
At the same time, the Director of the Turkish Clothing Manufacturers Association, Ms. Aynur Bekta?, agreed to allow her members to put special labels with the main campaign message – “Stop violence against women” – on all new clothes. Some 500 firms participated in this initiative, designed to catch the attention of women.