A day before 25 November, International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, President Erdoğan made a statement about the difference of nature or disposition (fıtrat) between women and men. Previously, in 2010, he had stated that he did not believe in equality between women and men due to their dispositions. We replied to this statement by saying that “the more you tell us not being equal with men, the more we get killed.”
We hereby call upon international feminist and LGBTI organizations and individuals to support us in our demand, that the Parliament of Turkey hold an emergency meeting to address the rampant killing of women in Turkey.
We refuse to stand by and watch as increasing numbers of women and trans women are killed in Turkey, encouraged by a lack of preventive measures, lax laws, and the fostering of a social culture which normalizes violence against women and essentially negates the existence of women as individuals by prioritizing “the family” at all costs.
Chaque jour, les femmes migrantes sont confrontées au harcèlement sexuel, la violence et le viol sur les d’Aksaray, de Laleli, de Beyazit et de Kumkapi, au travail et aux maisons. Les femmes migrantes viennent en Turquie pour échapper à la guerre et la violence masculine et trouver refuge ou de pouvoir envoyer de l'argent à leurs familles. En raison de la politique migratoire turc et le droit du travail sont restrictive ; elles sont obligés de travailler sans permis. Cette situation que nous définissons comme sans papier est surtout considéré comme fugitif est maltraité par les employeurs et les propriétaires. Ces violations de droits des humaines, racisme et discrimination deviennent graves comme le harcèlement sexuel et la violence masculine.
For some time now, mechanisms of oppression and regulation over our lives go against the life we wanted and longed for. We, women were at the forefront in the Gezi resistance for we were bound and determined to fight for our cause and press forward our demands. In the streets, we were exposed to a brutal form of violence, which we are actually acquainted with: police violence. We lost some of our friends during the resistance and some of us got heavily injured. We discussed for days about the unlawfulness of police violence and the destruction it caused. Meanwhile, government and state authorities such as the Police Chief, the Governor, the Minister of Internal Affairs and the Prime Minister, through their statements, repeatedly revealed that they are taking sides with the police and therefore manifested responsibility for the violence. Even the mainstream media, otherwise overlooking the significance of the events, had to pay attention to the disproportional use of violence by the security forces. The leadership of the Gezi resistance demanded the resignation of those responsible for deaths, injuries and the abuse of rights but state authorities only symbolically dismissed a few police officers and released the murderer of Ethem Sarısülük.
Violence we were exposed to as women, on the other hand, was not limited to these well-documented cases of street violence. We always faced another, an equally systematic form of violence: Sexual harassment and rape. The weapons of the masculine state were directed at us.
Women in Egypt had been at the forefront of the revolutionary overthrow of Hosni Mobarak. During the transition period following the revolution, as well as during Mohammed Morsi’s rule, women were pushed out of the political sphere through conservative politics. They were also forced to go back home through sexual attacks in the streets. Those who hold the power in their hands once again chose to attack women’s bodies in order to demoralize the opposition. Women’s organizations have repeatedly stated that the street attacks on women were organized and systematic. The government, on the other hand, remained indifferent to these attacks, did not take any measures against them, and eventually went as far as to hold women responsible for sexual harassment and rape!
At the protests which started during the last days of June against the Morsi government, organized pro-Morsi men have increased the intensity of their attacks on women. Many women have been harassed, beaten, raped, and even kidnapped. Organized sexual violence towards women aims at discouraging women from participating in politics in the streets. Perpetrators know that, when women are in the streets voicing their demands for freedom, they threaten all kinds of authoritarian, oppressive, conservative, masculinist regimes.