Turkish prosecutors target group highlighting femicide
The Turkish authorities have tried to silence activists who aim to prevent gender-motivated killings.
We Will Stop Femicide (WSF) said a letter had been received telling it to disband for security reasons. Other NGOs in Turkey have received similar threats in the increasingly authoritarian state.
On April 16, WSF will hold a protest in Istanbul’s Kadikoy district against the lawsuit.
The Istanbul Public Prosecutor’s Office said WSF was “disintegrating the family structure by ignoring the concept of family under the guise of defending women’s rights”, saying it breached criminal codes.
The group, which records the numbers of women killed by men in the country, rejected the accusations.
“These petitions consist of written applications claiming our association has been ‘disintegrating the family structure by ignoring the concept of the family under the guise of defending women’s rights’, a claim not based on any concrete facts,” the NGO in a statement.
“We know that we will never walk alone in the face of these attacks against our just struggle. Especially our members, our friends; we call on all women, LGBT+ people and all the responsive public who support women’s struggle to embrace our struggle against this annulment lawsuit filed against us,” WSF said.
The activist group said 24 women were killed by men in Turkey in March and so far this year, at least 111 women had been killed by men. In 2021 it recorded 419 murders and 413 in 2020.
Last year Ankara pulled out of the Istanbul Convention – a European agreement addressing violence against women. The convention is a legal framework to tackle violence against females, covering domestic violence, rape, sexual assault, female genital mutilation, “honour-based” violence and forced marriage.
The World Health Organisation estimated that around 38 per cent of women in Turkey have experienced domestic violence, compared with the European average of around 25 per cent.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan dismissed gender equality as “against nature” in 2014. He said: “You cannot put women and men on an equal footing. It is against nature.”
In 2016, the strongman leader told women to have at least three children.
“A woman who says ‘because I am working I will not be a mother’ is actually denying her femininity. A woman who rejects motherhood, who refrains from being around the house, however successful her working life is, is deficient, is incomplete,” Erdogan said.
Turkish women are murdered in high numbers. Picture credit: PXHere