ISTANBUL (Reuters) – Some 1,000 women gathered near Istanbul’s main Taksim Square on Monday to protest what they see as a failure by the authorities to prevent and punish violence against women, in a country where rates of femicide have increased in recent years.
The protesters, mostly women carrying purple flags with women and LGBTI + posters and purple masks that read “We will win our freedom,” gathered on a main street after police closed the entrances to Taksim Square on International Memorial Day. the woman.
Female police officers stood with their arms intertwined at the end of the street, blocking the entrance to the plaza while behind them were fences, police officers in riot gear and trucks with water cannons.
“Women are very strong and they are afraid of this. They should block the killers, not us, ”said Ipek Deniz, a 36-year-old nurse who is taking part in the protests.
The femicide rate nearly doubled between 2011 and 2019, according to a group that monitors killings of women, which also said that so far in 2021, 51 women have been killed and another 26 have died under suspicious circumstances.
Turkey does not keep official statistics on femicides.
Over the weekend, a video showing a woman being beaten and kicked in the head by her ex-husband on the street in northern Turkey sparked outrage on social media. The suspect was then taken into custody, media reports said, while the woman was admitted to hospital.
Speaking at a congress of the women’s wing of his AK Party, President Tayyip Erdogan said that Turkey would establish a commission in parliament to address issues related to violence against women.
“We hear that there are those who ask girls to leave their parents’ houses as soon as possible. Turkey will somehow solve the problem of violence against women, the real threat is that this mentality takes root, ”she said.
The protester around Taksim chanted “Femicide is political” and “Life is ours, the choice is ours, the streets are ours, you can stay with your family.”
“We are oppressed by male power every day. The murderers of women are rewarded by not being punished, ”said Sumeyye Kose, a 21-year-old student.
“We are here against the increase in violence, against systematic LGBTI-phobia, against femicide. We will win, ”he said.
Written by Ali Kucukgocmen; Edited by Steve Orlofsky