Fikriye Barkören

Fikriye Barkören has been dedicated to serving the Turkish community and has lived in the Merri-bek area for many years.

“Most of my life I’ve lived in Merri-bek. I’ve lived here in Glenroy for 7 years. It’s really quiet and the proximity to the shops is good. I have good neighbours and I feel very secure here. I can go home at midnight safely at my age. It’s no problem. Also, the 40km [speed limit in the suburban streets] is good for safety too. But I’m not sure if the Council can do more about traffic issues or parked cars. If they give me authority, I’d give them tickets!”

Over the years, Fikriye has provided invaluable resources, translation services and community assistance to Turkish residents through the Merri-bek Council.

“If I can let the Turkish community know there are courses for women, they may want to come here. With some people, you have to explain everything, especially the newcomers who arrived here after the [Turkish] earthquake. Or during COVID, I helped many others understand it too.”

Her efforts have also centred on promoting better understanding among Merri-bek’s residents and diverse cultural groups.

“I can discuss issues with the Council as they are involved with the people and residents of this area. The Council should hear them.”

When asked how she felt towards her nomination, Fikriye replied simply. “I said, ‘I don’t want the nomination,’ but the following day, I received an email! So, here I am.”

Fikriye downplays her contributions to the community, but consistently suggests ways for the council to improve Glenroy and Merri-bek. It’s these qualities that truly set her apart as an extraordinary woman.