In the last week, women across Turkey have joined the millions of people taking to the streets to stand against state violence and oppression. In more than fifty cities across the country, women joined the resistance against Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and the violent police response to peaceful protests in Taksim Square, Istanbul.
Women have good reason to stand against Erdogan. Long before Gezi Park they have felt and fought against repeated attacks on their rights, freedoms and bodies.
Erdogan and those surrounding him have actively allowed violence against women to continue in homes and on the streets. In the introduction of the ‘unjust provocation’ law they have offered institutional protection to the men who perpetrate this violence. For the women experiencing it, they have refused to open shelters. Women who have been raped or harassed have been blamed and called immoral.
Women’s reproductive rights have been systematically attacked by Erdogan. He has told every woman that it is their duty to give birth to a minimum of three children. He has opposed caesarean sections. He has branded abortions murder, comparing them to the aerial bombardment by his own military of the Kurdish region of Roboski, in which 34 civilians were killed. Only last year he attempted to bring in legislation that might ban abortions altogether.
Changes made by Erdogan to education policy have made it legal for families to discontinue their children’s school-based education after only four years; a policy that’s impact is and will continue to be felt primarily by girls.
These, and so many more of the policies and beliefs of Erdogan and his government, have restricted and damaged women’s lives.
As resistance continues, women have demands that must be heard. The infringement on women’s rights perpetrated by Erdogan is being called to account by women all over Turkey. I sign this petition to support their call for Erdogan to pay attention to their demands. I sign this petition in solidarity with the resistance of women in Turkey.