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Many of the Sultans during this time were minors and it was their mothers, like Kösem Sultan, or sometimes daughters of the sultan as Mihrimah Sultan, leaders of the Harem, who effectively ruled the Empire. The period started in 1520 during the reign of Suleyman the Magnificent until 1656, the reign of Mehmed IV.
During the decline of the Ottoman Empire in the 19th century, educated women within the elites of Istanbul began to organise themselves as feminists.
In her novels, Halide Edip Adıvar criticised the low social status of Turkish women and what she saw as the lack of interest of most women in changing their situation.
During the Turkish War of Independence, Kara Fatma a widow proved herself as a successful milita leader.
The role of women in contemporary Turkey is defined by an ongoing gender equality struggle, contributing elements of which include predicate conditions for EU membership candidacy, prevalent political tides that favour restrictive patriarchal models, and woman's rights activism.