Statement allowed, but Ankara police stop march protesting violence against women 

Several people gathered in Turkey’s capital city of Ankara on Sunday to issue a public statement protesting violence against women.

However, according to the Gazete Duvar news portal, the protesters could only make a public statement but were prevented by police from marching.

The statement was aimed at marking the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women on November 25, as declared by the United Nations General Assembly.

The police officers did not allow the protesters to hold a march, saying that they did not get permission from the governor’s office.

According to a report by Muzeyyen Yuce from Gazete Duvar, the protesters held placards that said “We want to live” and “Law No 6284 and Istanbul Convention will be [effectively] enforced. We will stop femicides.”

Law No 6284 was enacted in Turkey in 2012 with the purpose of protecting women, children, family members and the victims of stalking, who have been subjected to violence or at the risk of violence.

The Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence, also known as the Istanbul Convention, was opened for signature in Istanbul in May 2011.

It requires signatories to fight discrimination on the basis of sex, sexual orientation, and gender identity, in addition to taking measures against domestic violence, compensate its victims and sentence the perpetrators proportionally.

Surrounded by the riot police, the demonstrators on Sunday made the statement that urged authorities to defend women’s rights more effectively and called on citizens to raise their voices against the violence targeting women and children.

“Today, violence targeting women and children is at its highest level. Society cannot stay silent about this. This fight belongs to all people, not just women,” said Mustafa Damar, the father of Ceren Damar, a university academic, who was murdered.

She was murdered in January by one of her students, Ismail Hikmet because she had repeatedly reported on him for cheating in exams.

Dilber Sunnetcioglu, a representative of the women’s associations that organized the event, also held forth that femicides can be averted if men and women had equality.

Indicating that a total of 432 women have been killed within a year, she added: “We, as women, [have to] defend our right to life every day, either in courtrooms or in the street.”

“At least one woman is killed every day [in Turkey]. Where are the police officers, who are here today, when women need them? These police officers should try to prevent femicides instead of trying to prevent us from staging a protest as they did today,” she said.

Sunnetcioglu also called on Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) to quit sex-oriented politics and gendered discourse so that Turkish women can live “freely, equally and in peace.”

According to the data of the We Will Stop Femicides Platform, 390 women have been killed in Turkey in the first 10 months of 2019, with 103 of them losing their lives because they wanted to make decisions regarding their lives themselves.

Wanting to get a divorce, refusing husband’s attempts to make up and not answering husband’s phone calls are among the reasons for the deaths of 36 women who were killed in October 2019, the platform also elaborated.

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