Merve Kavakçı

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Merve Safa Kavakçı
Merve Safa Kavakçı.JPG
Born August 19, 1968
Ankara, Turkey
Residence Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Nationality Turkey, United States
Education M.Sc. from Harvard University
PhD from Howard University
Occupation Professor
Employer Uskudar University
George Washington University
Howard University
Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Turkey)
Political party Virtue Party (1998-2001)

Merve Safa Kavakçı (born 19 August 1968, Ankara) is a Turkish politician, who was elected as a Virtue Party deputy for Istanbul on April 18, 1999. She is serving as the Turkish ambassador to Malaysia.[1][2][3]

On May 2, 1999, Kavakçı was precluded from taking her oath in the swear-in ceremony by members of the Democratic Left Party due to her headscarf. She failed to disclose her American citizenship, which was revealed after the elections, and she lost her seat in the parliament in March 2001. The Virtue Party was closed down by the Constitutional Court in June 2001.

In 2007, Kavakçı won the legal case when the European Court of Human Rights found that Kavakcı's expulsion from parliament was a violation of human rights.[4] Since then, Kavakçı has been an outspoken critic of Turkey's secular political system, traveling the globe in support of Muslim women's rights, especially to the hijab. In addition to lecturing at universities throughout Europe and the United States, Kavakçı addressed the 2004 Parliament of the World's Religions in Barcelona. Kavakci also addressed British Parliament House of Lords in London, England. She has lectured and spoke at myriad American and European Universities including Harvard, Yale, Berlin, Hamburg, Hannover, Duisburg and Cambridge Universities.

Kavakçı is a Hafiza. She received her master's degree from Harvard University and her PhD from Howard University. Kavakçı is currently a professor at George Washington University and Howard University in Washington D.C. She is the mother of two, Fatima Abushanab, 21 and Mariam Kavakci, 20.[5]

Kavakçı is recognized among the World's Most Influential 500 Muslims. She was recognized among "Women of Excellence" by NAACP and GWU in 2004. She was awarded the Public Service Award in Tribute and in Recognition of efforts for the advancement of human rights and Muslim Women's empowerment by International Association for Women and Children in 2000. She was awarded Service to Humanity Award by Haus Der Kulturellen Aktivität und Toleranz in Vienna, Austria in 1999. She was granted Mother of the Year Award by Capital Platform of Ankara and National Youth Organization in 1999.

Kavakçı is a consultant for U.S. Congress on the Muslim world and a columnist for Turkish conservative daily Vakit newspaper. She sits at the Editorial Board of Mediterranean Quarterly. She is the author of six books and numerous articles.

In 2012, a book about Kavakçı titled "The Day Turkey Stood Still: Merve Kavakçı's Walk Into the Parliament" by Richard Peres was published.[6][7] She is paternal Georgian descent.[8]


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