Turkey: Femicide crisis worsens, authorities punish women human rights defenders

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Sun, 22 Nov 2020 - 01:25 GMT

Riot police prevent women's rights activists from marching through Taksim Square to protest against gender violence in Istanbul, Turkey, November 25, 2018. REUTERS/Umit Bektas

Riot police prevent women's rights activists from marching through Taksim Square to protest against gender violence in Istanbul, Turkey, November 25, 2018. REUTERS/Umit Bektas

CAIRO -22 November 2020: The Turkish authorities continue to crack down on women’s rights defenders in the country, as the prosecutions and arrests of female lawyers defending the rights of the women killed by men due to domestic violence after refusing to continue the marriage or requesting separation continue.

 

At least 43 women were murdered in Turkey by men between last October and early November, according to Stop Femicide, the largest feminist non-governmental organization that advocates women's rights in the country.

 

A spokeswoman for the feminist platform said, "We reject all forms of violence against women and resist the phenomenon of femicide," adding that incidents of femicide occur when women make decisions about their future and lives that men do not accept.

 

The well-known activist, Malak Onder, told Al-Arabiya, "Women struggle in Turkey to demand their rights, and every day there are women who go to police stations and courts to seek protection, but the laws are not implemented as it should be."

 

"Among the laws that grant protection to Turkish women is Istanbul Treaty, which requires the authorities to prevent violence against women," Onder said.

 

"Women are killed, not commit suicide as the Turkish authorities claim. We also deal with suspicious cases, for example, 152 women lost their lives in mysterious circumstances during 2020. A total of 269 women have been killed since the beginning of this year, and the perpetrators are allowed to repeat their crimes, as a result of not being held accountable and punished," she added.

 

On Thursday, November 19, Turkish security forces arrested 17 members of the Bar Association in the Kurdish-majority city of Diyarbakir, in the southeast of the country, among whom several female lawyers defending women's rights and demanding equality with men.

 

"We take our strength from each other and will continue the struggle until we can achieve a reality in which women are free and equal with men... We will abide by the Istanbul Convention until violence against women stops," Onder commented on this crackdown.

 

"What is happening is unimaginable. In one day, men killed four women," Onder said referring to the killing of 4 women in separate regions of Turkey weeks ago by their ex-husbands.

 

The "Istanbul Treaty", from which Turkey intends to withdraw, is an international agreement that Ankara agreed to discuss with the European Council for Human Rights in 2011 and then entered into force in August 2014. The treaty aims to create legal mechanisms to combat gender-based violence and discrimination.

 

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