North Cyprus  

Turkish-Cypriot Women

Gönül Başaran Erönen
First woman Justice of the T.R. of Northern Cyprus
Gönül Basaran Erönen

Gönül Erönen was born and educated in London, United Kingdom to Turkish Cypriot parents. At the age of 7 she decided to do law. She detested injustice of every sort and believed in the ideal notion of justice. To this end she qualified as a Barrister-at-Law from the Council of Legal Education in 1975 as a Member of the Honourable Society of Gray's Inn Court of Law. Seeing the plight of the Turkish Cypriots she decided to come home to her roots and use her services to help her people. She came to Cyprus in 1975 and passed the Turkish Cypriot Bar Examinations in 1976. She then did her pupillage at the Law chambers of Ümit Süleyman Onan setting up her law practice in 1977.

When she came to North Cyprus she became a member of the Turkish Cypriot Human Rights Committee from 1980 until 1992 and also took part in the activities of the North Cyprus Strategic Research Centre (NGO). While pursuing her law practice and before becoming a judge she was a part-time English newsreader on Turkish Cypriot BRT Television from 1976 until Jan.1980. She married an Architect in 1977 and has two sons.
On 29/2/80 she was appointed to the Turkish Cypriot Bench as the first female District Court Judge on the island of Cyprus. On 1/4/1986 she was promoted to Senior District Court Judge. On 1/7/1992 she was promoted to President of District Court. As President, she resided on the Assize Court from 26/10/76 to 14/9/93. From 15/9/93 until 2/1/94 she sat as President of the District Court of Kyrenia. On 3/1/94 she was appointed as the first female and youngest justice of the Turkish Cypriot Supreme Court Bench.

She is today the only female justice of the Supreme Court on the whole island of Cyprus. Being the 7th of 8 Turkish Cypriot Supreme Court Justices she deals with administrative reviews, appeal cases, sits as a court of first instance and sometimes resides as a member of the Constitutional Court, which is composed of 5 Justices.

She is a member of the Turkish Cypriot Supreme Council of Judicature, a member of the Turkish Cypriot Legal Board, a member of the Turkish Cypriot Supreme Electoral Commission of North Cyprus, a member of the Bar Council of England and Wales.

She belongs to various social cultural and professional institutions. She is a member and the liaison in North Cyprus of the International Association of Women Judges and International Women Judges Foundation (IAWJ); a member of the Society for International Development - Nicosia Chapter (SID); a member of the Turkish Cypriot University Women's Association; a member of the National Trust of North Cyprus; a member of the Anglo-Turkish Association of North Cyprus. She is also a member of the Turkish Cypriot-French Cultural Association; an honourary member of the Austrian based - Verein der Freunde von Nordzypern- (Friends of North Cyprus Association). And, she is Chairperson of the Turkish Cypriot Football Association's Arbitration Board, which acts as an appeal tribunal from complaints against the Cyprus Turkish Football Association.

Being a person who believes in dialogue, she is active in promoting acceptance and respect for the rights of the Turkish Cypriot people, with a view to a possible settlement on the island of Cyprus. She has helped in the work of organisations such as IWRAW (International Women's Rights Action Watch) in compiling information on Turkish Cypriot women.

Her other activities involve charity work and she is a member of the Executive Committee of the Charity "HELP".

In 1989 she visited the USA as an International Visitor and for 7 weeks in July-August 1997 in the USA, she took part in a Fulbright Short-term Training programme entitled "Administration of Justice under a Federal System". She has also taken part in a Cyprus Conflict Management Training programme and in a Conflict Resolution programme in 1994 in Coolfont, Virginia, USA, organised by The Institute of Multi-Track Diplomacy. She did "Humanistic Transformative Mediation" training under the guidance of Fulbright Scholar Marco Turk and has seen the benefit in continuing this type of training.

She represented the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus in the World Women's Conference in Beijing, China in 1995. She was also able to attend the Biennial Conference of the International Association of Women Judges (IAWJ) in Ottawa, Canada, entitled "Vision for a Non-Violent World-Justice for Every Child". In October of 1998 she attended the 1998 conference of The International Association of Centres for Federal Studies (IACFS) entitled "Federalism and Peacemaking" in Jerusalem, Israel.

She hopes to be able to serve on the Bench for as long as she can, enhancing the quality of law and justice in North Cyprus.

  • "Liberty" - a  speech given by Justice Erönen at the American Society of North Cyprus Thanksgiving Dinner on 25 November 1999 at Dome Hotel, Kyrenia, North Cyprus.

  People & Life