Turkish women march against femicide

On Sunday, Turkish women took the streets across Turkey's major cities to protest against gender-based violence. 

This action was led by the We Will Stop Femicide Platform Women's Assemblies, who organised protests in Istanbul, Ankara, Adana, Balikesir, Samsun and Rize ahead of the Day of Combating Violence Against Women on November 25.

Protestors were joined by members of families of murdered women and victims of domestic violence. Throughout the protest, the names of murdered women were recited to the crowd gathered including Helin Palandöken, Aysun Yıldırım and Feride Genç.

Speaking to the crowd, We Will Stop Femicide Platform's general representative Gülsüm Kav pledged to continue to push back against femicide in Turkey. 

"With millions of young and working women being the subject of the struggle, we will make the headlines "No women killed this year" together," Kav said at a protest in Istanbul's Kadikoy district.

 

DW Turkish reported that protestors chanted "We will enforce the Istanbul Convention to stop violence, impunity, suspicious deaths and murders of women". They were referring to the Council of Europe's Istanbul Convention which aimed to hold perpetrators of violence against women accountable and to protect victims. 

The Istanbul Convention is considered the first European treaty specifically targeting violence against women. It entered into force in August 2014 two years after Turkey ratified the treaty. 

The ruling Justice & Development Party (AKP) announced plans over the summer to withdraw from the Istanbul Convention, its more more conservative members claiming it undermined traditional family values. Women across Turkey protested this move and even female members of the AKP itself expressed their opposition to withdrawing from the Istanbul Convention. 

Violence against women has remained a consistent concern for activists in Turkey. Lockdown measures related to the COVID-19 pandemic are believed to have led to an increase in domestic violence and a number of women have been killed by male relatives, partners or acquaintances.