Turkey

Latifa Akay

‘Give women free guns!’  - It was one of those headlines that catches your eye, but not in a particularly good way. I read on with a feeling of unease I have learnt to associate with discussions of domestic violence in Turkey. The head of a women’s shelter, Şefkat-Der, it transpired – had suggested that women in fear of their lives be issued with licensed guns and receive state-funded shooting lessons as a last ditch effort to cut down on the murders of women.

We deplore the recent crackdown of the Turkish government on its own citizens, the clearly unjustified use of tear gas, acts of force, gas canisters and smoke bombs that have resulted in a vast number of injuries, imperiling the lives of those who seek to exercise their basic freedoms of assembly and protest.  

In Turkey, a women's rights group has petitioned parliament for the creation of a male brothel. The call has heated up the discussion over whether the state should run brothels at all.

Turkey has a high-profile pilot project to ward off domestic assault. Safety advocates say it won't work as long as victims continue to be routinely disbelieved and mistreated.

Pursuant to a month of heated discussions, Turkish government stated that they will not amend the existing laws on abortion in Turkey and restricted their changes to the subject of making caesar sections more difficult to implement. Social media whirled about a few days, press immediately forgot about the issue, but the snake never slept.

TO THE POLICIES OF THE PRIME MINISTER AND THE GOVERNMENT OF TURKEY THAT TARGET GENDER EQUALITY, WOMEN'S BODIES, REPRODUCTIVE RIGHTS, AND SEXUALITY, OUR RESPONSE IS A RESOUNDING "NO!"

We demand that the process to ban abortion be ceased IMMEDIATELY!

Banning abortion or further limiting the duration and conditions under which it can be performed;

Un collectif d’associations turques a lancé sur internet la pétition « Say no Abortion ban », « Dites non à l’interdiction de l’avortement ».

En Turquie, l’avortement est légal depuis 1983 jusqu’à 10 semaines de grossesse. Déplorant que le taux de fécondité soit passé de 3,14 enfants par femme en 1980 à 2,11 en 2009, le Premier ministre turc Erdogan incite les couples à avoir « au moins trois enfants ».

Gokce, a soft-spoken 37-year-old mother of two, has lived on the run for 15 years, ever since her abusive husband tracked her down, broke down her door and shot her in the leg six times after she refused to return to him.

The Kurdish ethnic group historically inhabited Kurdistan, an area now divided between the modern states of Turkey, Iraq, Iran and Syria.  Kurds form about 20% of Turkey’s population. Since the formation of the state of Turkey, Kurds in Turkey have faced marginalization  and suppression of their cultural identity and a very severe assimilation policy. In 1984 the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) launched an armed uprising against the Turkish state demanding an independent Kurdish homeland.

A campaign to make Istanbul's roughly 3,100 mosques more welcoming for women could set off a gender revolution in Turkey's places of Islamic worship - and one that may not be uniformly welcomed.

"This is about mosques being a space for women," declared Kadriye Avci Erdemli, Istanbul's deputy mufti, the city's second most powerful administrator of the Islamic faith. "When a woman enters a mosque, she is entering the house of God and she should experience the same sacred treatment. In front of God, men and women are equal; they have the same rights to practice their religion."

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