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HDP MPs protest spike in femicides under AKP rule in Turkey

Pro-Kurdish HDP lawmaker Ayse Surucu says femicides in Turkey have risen 1,400 percent since the governing AKP came to power in 2002.

Surucu was among lawmakers speaking on the 43rd day of the Democracy Watch, the Gazete Duvar news website reported on Monday.

The Democracy Watch is a series of anti-government protests led by HDP lawmakers and officials across Turkey since the AKP replaced the party’s mayors in Mardin, Diyarbakir and Van provinces with state officials in August over their alleged terror activities.

During Monday’s protest in the western city of Izmir, the pro-Kurdish HDP deputies including Surucu, Sevin Coskun, Serpil Kemalbay and Musa Piroglu referred to the injustices against women in Turkey.

Surucu underlined that one of the reasons for the appointment of state officials to replace Kurdish mayors in three provinces is the HDP’s co-presidential system, which allows the party’s formations to be chaired by one chairman and one chairwoman.

“This is because political power is afraid of women and wants them to stay at home. It does not want women to even have free will. But HDP is a party that supports women and therefore we will always defend and fight for the co-presidential system,” Surucu said on Monday.

Saying that the government’s first move after appointing state officials as mayors was to shut down the HDP’s women organizations in those provinces, the MP added that it was aimed at narrowing women’s living space.

Lawmaker Kemalbay also spoke during the protest, holding forth that an effective investigation must be conducted for the deaths of Rabia Naz and Nadira.

On April 12, 2018, the 11-year-old Rabia Naz was found dying in front of her house in Eynesil, a town in the northeastern province of Giresun and she could not be revived.

Although Turkish police were quick to declare her death a suicide by jumping from the roof of her house, the girl’s father claimed that she was hit by a car driven by a nephew of Eynesil’s former (then) mayor from the AKP.

The father Saban Vatan further claimed that the accident was covered up by Nurettin Canikli, who then served as the country’s deputy Prime Minister.

Nadira Kadirova, a 23-year-old Uzbek national who was working as a maid in the house of AKP lawmaker Sirin Unal, died last week allegedly from a gunshot fired from a firearm that belonged to Unal.

Officials declared that Kadirova had committed suicide while the MP was also at home, Turkish media reported.

“Do not let these [deaths] to be covered up by your judiciary. Do not allow your prosecutors to act in a way that criminalizes the witnesses,” Kemalbay said.

“We are here for both Rabia Naz and Nadira. We are here for laborers who lost their lives in workplaces and for femicide victims,” Kemalbay added saying the Democracy Watch was an initiative for everyone.

Coskun, the HDP’s lawmaker for Mus province, noted that the Turkish government has constantly attempted in the last four years to criminalize the pro-Kurdish party, which is Turkey’s third-largest political formation.

Expressing that it has been 43 days since the ruling AKP “usurped people’s will” in Van, Diyarbakir and Mardin provinces, the MP vowed: “We, as the HDP, will continue fighting for people everywhere in Turkey to live equally, free and in democracy.”

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