Several thousand people, mostly women, took to the street procession on Thursday, November 25, in Istanbul to draw attention to the problem of violence against women. The action was timed to coincide with the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women.
Protesters marched along one of the most popular pedestrianized streets in Istanbul. The marchers blew whistles and chanted slogans, including calls for the resignation of the government. To stop the women’s demonstration, the police blocked the street and fired tear gas when the crowd tried to break through the established barricades.
As DW Turkey correspondent Julia Hahn tweeted, women took to the streets to protest widespread gender-based violence and to voice their anger at the Turkish government over Turkey’s withdrawal from the Convention earlier this year. Council of Europe on Preventing and Combating Violence against Women (Istanbul Convention).
Erdogan demanded to return to the Istanbul Convention
Many participants in the march carried banners, one of which was inscribed: “Do not be silent about male violence.” The organizers of the march condemned the police intervention, describing their actions as an attack on women and members of minorities.
Similar actions, timed to coincide with the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, were held on November 25 in other cities of the country. The demonstrators called on President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to ensure that Turkey re-enter the Istanbul Convention. This document entered into force in 2014 and constitutes a treaty paving the way for the creation of a legal framework at a pan-European level for the protection of women from all forms of violence.
Turkey withdrew from the convention in March 2021 because, as announced by Ankara, this document encourages divorce and promotes LGBT culture, which is contrary to the country’s values. Erdogan then said that local laws would be used to protect women’s rights.
Human Rights Defenders: Hundreds of women are killed every year in Turkey
Meanwhile, human rights defenders are concerned about the increasing number of violent attacks against women in Turkey. Since the beginning of 2021, 345 women have been killed in Turkey since the beginning of 2021, and 409 in 2020, according to the We Will Stop Femicide Platform, a human rights organization that works to combat violence against women.
In October 2021 alone, 18 women died at the hands of men, and another 19 were found dead under strange circumstances, human rights activists said.