Statement- Women´s Day 2021

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We, Together Platform, call upon all States and relevant stakeholders worldwide to take
urgent steps in combating gender-based violence against women with particular focus on
domestic violence. Elimination of discrimination and gender-based violence against
women can only be accomplished if all decisionmakers embrace and integrate the issue
into their urgent agenda. As violence against women has dramatically intensified during
the COVID-19 pandemic, it is imperative that its mitigation goes hand in hand with the
struggle against the disease.
In the last year, it has become evident that women and girls have been disproportionately
affected by inequalities as the pandemic deepened pre-existing gaps and exacerbated
gender-based discrimination and violence. “Home”, has turned into a fearful place for
many women and children and this has to stop immediately.
In Turkey, the issue reached unprecedented lows in recent years as women were brought
to the fore only as a carrier of symbols while they have not been protected by the
authorities.
It is the bitter truth of the country that violence against women enjoys broad impunity.
Thus, alone in 2020, 300 women were killed by men in Turkey alongside 171 others who
died in rather suspicious ways. While 22 women were killed because of economic
reasons, 96 others were murdered for making decisions about their own life, such as;
going for divorce, refusing to get married or rejecting a relationship.
The heartbreaking situation of violence against women finds its expression in numbers
as follows:
· 4 out of 10 women are exposed to physical or sexual violence;
· 3 out of 10 women are forced to get married before they turn 18;
· 48 % of girls who are forced to get married before 18 are exposed to physical
violence;
· One third of girls in Turkey are prevented from going to school by their families;
· 11 % of women in Turkey are prevented from working by their families;
· No more than 10 % of women who are exposed to violence apply an institution for
help;
· 90 % of human trafficking victims are women.
The overall violence and violation of women’s rights pertain to the policies of the existing
government as it tends to confine women in the private realm and provide impunity to the
perpetrators against women. On the issue of gender, AKP government and its undisputed
leader, President Erdoğan, have been acting in extremely inconsistent ways. While they
were the ones who hosted the Istanbul convention on preventing and combating violence
against women and domestic violence in their reformist days, currently they are the ones
who practically undermine and run campaigns against it.
In line with its oppressive conservatism the AKP government follows restrictive policies
on women’s rights, and currently it is discussing a possible withdrawal from the Istanbul
Convention that it hosted and became the first signatory. It is upsetting to see the
government’s enthusiasm on carrying misogynist elements onto political agenda. It goes
beyond saying that Turkey’s withdrawal from the Convention will have disastrous
consequences for millions of women and girls as well as the organizations providing vital
support to survivors of sexual assault and domestic violence.
Alongside its overall tendency of restriction against women, the AKP government has
targeted a specific group of women in recent years. As President Erdoğan targeted the
Gülen Movement for its resistance to paying homage to his personal and autocratic rule,
women affiliated with the Movement have been suffering immensely. While these women
should be applauded for their great contributions to the peacebuilding, education and
social assistance activities of the Movement through perfectly legitimate means, the
Erdoğan regime incriminated all hundreds of thousands of them with a wild imagination
and set out to annihilate them as a social entity.
While tens of thousands of these women have been put in prison under the conditions
that aim to break human dignity many of them were forced to give deliveries in prison and
raise their infants there. In the same vein, many women were arrested as they resorted
to hospitals for delivery and then taken in with their newborn babies. These women then,
were strip-searched by police officers, faced physical and psychological abuse, and
threatened with rape. Destructive effects of these inhuman treatments will stay with most
of these women for their lifetime.
As for the ones who have not been arrested, they fear arbitrary arrest in the open prison
that the country was turned into. With a total of 23,194 highly educated women were
driven off their jobs and stigmatized with the ridiculous accusation of terrorism. These
women were ripped off their economic independence and some 140 of them lost their
lives as they could not stand this systematic oppression of the Turkish government.
Openly and explicitly, we condemn President Erdogan`s autocratic and corrupt
government for such atrocities that they commit to stay in power. We condemn the ones
who approved the barbarous acts against women particularly in Turkey, Syria, Iraq, and
Afghanistan as well as in Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region in Northwest China with
some kind of “banality of evil”.


We Break the Silence to protect each other and have dignified lives!
We will not subordinate to oppression and take violence against women as our fate.
For all the sake of the current and next generations, we won´t let it go.
We Break the Silence.

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