İffet Halim Oruz

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IFFET HALIM ORUZ She was born in March 1904 in Erenköy, İstanbul. She was the daughter of Nizamettin Bey and Saide Hanım, the granddaughter of the poet Hilmi Efendi and the cousin of the poet Faruk Nafiz Çamlıbel. When she was a student in Erenköy Girls’ High School but quit school due to being diagnosed with typhoid. She married Colonel Halim Oruz in 1924. She gave birth to her son, İsmet in 1925. As her voice became louder in women’s movement, being a graduate of middle school became burden for her. She graduated from Erenköy Girls’ High School. She started studying in the Faculty of Law in İstanbul University in 1936 but changed her mind and continued studyin in the Faculty of Economics and graduated from there in 1940 as one of the fşrst graduates of the faculty. She wanted to have a PhD and shared her wish with Ministry of Education of the time, Hasan Ali Yücel but she received a negative answer.

She wanted to work on “price control” in her PhD and after the rejection she continued to be loyal to her plans. She applied to work in Price Control Organization in İstanbul. She was also rejected from there, since the organization was not hiring women. After asking for help from many people, she was finally hired by the organization and worked there for years. Even though she continued studying for her PhD, the busy routine of the institution kept her from finishing her PhD. After her husband was promoted to become a general, she quit her job and started teaching journalistic ethics, history of journalism, methods of journalism in Journalism High School. Later on she taught journalistic ethics in Journalism College.

She was introduced to the issues regarding women’s rights when she was nine years old, since her mother was a member of Hukuk-u Nisvan Cemiyeti. She started to work in women’s movement actively on 29 April 1927 by opening the Diyarbakır Office of Women’s Union. She came back to İstanbul ue to her husband’s job and there she met Latife Bekir in the Cağaloğlu offive of Women’s Union. Then she went to Ankara with Latife Bekir and requested to talk to Atatürk. After the rejection of her request, she managed to talk to Atatürk in Fevzi Çakmak’s daughter’s wedding, telling him about her ideas on women’s rights. After talking about women’s right to run for parliament, Atatürk invited her for an official meeting. They had the meeting with Atatürk as Women’s Committee in Marmara Mansion and they requested for political rights. Upon Atatürk’s request on enlightening women in villages about the issue, the committee went back to İstanbul and started to work on this. But İffet Halim Oruz had to go to Afghanistan because of her husband’s job and had to stay away from the movement in İstanbul. Later on, they moved to Ankara and she continued working for women’s rights there. She also worked for improvement of Turkish language and for the encouragement of people to use domestically produced goods.

Between the years 1950-1960, Women’s Union was founded again. Its center was in Ankara and it had offices in various places of Anatolia. İffet Halim an her friends from the union went to Anatolian villages and prepared events for foundations. She was chosen as the president of the Istanbul office of Turkish Women’s Union. When her husband was sent back to Ankara, she became the vice president of the union. She received an offer from the Democrat Party in 1957 to run for election. But after her Cyprus trip, she found that the offer was not valid anymore. Since 1927, she worked for various institutions, foundations and unions such as Turkish Centre (Türk Ocakları), Red Crescent (Kızılay), Society for the Protection of Children (Çocuk Esirgeme Kurumu), People’s Houses (Halk Evleri), Turkish Women’s Union (Türk Kadınlar Birliği), Benefactors’ Foundation (Yardımsevenler Derneği), Women’s Council (Kadınlar Konseyi), Çocuk Dostları Foundation, Darülaceze’ye Yardım Foundation, Welfare Association (Sosyal Dayanışma Derneği), Huzurevlerini Kurma ve Yaşatma Foundation, Social Services Federation (Sosyal Hizmetler Federasyonu). She was diagnosed with Alzheimer and she died from this disease on 20 August 1993 in French Hospital.

She published her first articles in a Diyarbakır based newspaper Halkın Sesi. She wrote for a weekly column on women’s rights in the newspaper, Hakimiyet-i Milliye. She wrote in the newspaper Ulus for a while and continued writing in Kadın Gazetesi which she started publishing in 1947. İffet Halim Oruz was the editor and the writer of the newspaper which was first published on 1 March 1947. Along with her, Halide Nusret Zorlutuna and Şükufe Nihal were among the other fammous writers who supported the newspaper. It is the longest lasting women’s newspaper in Turkey. It became the official media organ of İstanbul Office of Turkish Women’s Union. Its name was changed into Kadın after 1965. It was published for thirty three years and it was closed down after publishing its last volume in November 1979. İffet Halim’s first poem collection, Füsun, was published in 1928. Her second poem collection, Tul Daireleri was published in 1931. The book consists of eight poems on her observations of Afghanistan. She published a third poem collection, Kışın Bahar in 1965. She published a declamation book titled Arkadaşlar which consists of her speeches in radios and events. Her last book Kadın Devrimi has many autobiographic elements and includes her poems which were published in her book Kışın Bahar. The work gives important information about the women’s movement in Turkey. She also wrote a novel in 1947, titled İstifçi which was serialized in the newspaper Kadın Gazetesi. The subject of the novel is the underground organizations that stole from the government during World War II. The novel based on a true story which İffet Halim Oruz witnessed and fought against while she was working for İstanbul Price Control Organization. Her mutual work with Sırrı Yırcalı on the financial conditions of the countries who did not participate in World War II was published in 1944 as Türkiye’de Fiyat Murakabesi, Mevzuat ve Tatbikat. She wrote a play, Burla, for the tenth anniversary of the foundation of Republic in 1933. In the same year she wrote Yeni Türkiye’de Kadın which gives the portrait of the women’s movement of the time.

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