Challenging Task: Combatting Violence in Turkey

Image Credit : Arzu Geybullayeva

In a ruling on September 13, a court in Istanbul rejected the request to shut down the popular online platform “We Will Stop Femicides,” which documents violence against women. The platform had been sued in December 2021, accused of engaging in “illegal and immoral activities.” This decision was a rare victory for women’s rights activists in Turkey, a country where 362 women were reported killed due to violence in 2023 alone, according to the online tracker Anitsayac.

Despite the high number of fatalities, Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) decided to rejoin the Istanbul Convention, which the country had withdrawn from in March 2021. The withdrawal was attributed to the party’s objections to what it termed the treaty’s “normalization of homosexuality.”

However, women’s rights activists disagreed. On the International Day to Eliminate Violence Against Women, November 25, they gathered across Turkey to protest and remind the state of the pressing issue of violence against women. Several governors’ offices took measures to prevent women from marching on this day, including shutting down subway stations and banning protests in some areas.

Apart from violence, women in Turkey face other challenges, such as growing rates of early marriages. Additionally, a report on women workers’ rights revealed that 1,379 women have been killed at their workplaces since 2013, highlighting issues like economic violence and poor working conditions.

In response to ongoing concerns, President Erdoğan signed a circular on November 25, outlining measures to combat violence against women. However, critics view the circular as a temporary solution.

The circular’s promises of “zero tolerance to violence” are met with skepticism, as restraining orders and protection measures are not adequately processed in Turkey.

Repurposed article originally published in Global Voices

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