Turkey: Feminist organisations take to the streets against violence against women

On Saturday, November 25, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, Turkey's leading feminist organizations held rallies, including in the country's largest city, Istanbul. In a country that has seen a setback in protection against violence in recent years, NGOs are calling for concrete measures to prevent femicide. In particular, they warn of the increase in so-called "suspicious" deaths.

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Rally in Istanbul this Saturday, November 25, 2023 as part of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women. AP - Emrah Gurel

By: RFI Follow


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With our correspondent in Istanbul, Anne Andlauer

Özge, with very black bangs and very green eyes, holds up a sign that reads: "Men kill, the state protects them." She shouts it, with experience to back it up. Last month, on the street, a man tried to assault her. He fled when she sprayed him with tear gas.

I called the police, and they said, "We're coming." But no one ever came. And my abuser was never worried. I never feel safe. That's why I go out with tear gas.

However, the activist points out that in seven out of ten cases in Turkey, women are killed by their husbands, partners or the man they have left. Between January and October, NGOs counted 253 femicides, and 194 "suspicious" deaths.

Deaths classified as "natural", "accidental" or "suicides", the number of which has increased in recent years. For Sebnem, another protester, this is paradoxically a sign of the rise of the feminist movement.

Women are no longer silent! Murderers know that we take to the streets to demand accountability as soon as a woman dies.

On 25 November, the Turkish authorities issued a circular that was supposed to strengthen the fight against violence. NGOs denounce a list of good intentions, and demand concrete action.

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