“Taib, look here! Many of us! “Several hundred people shouted, jumped in the air and waved rainbow flags and signs with inscriptions such as” The Istanbul Agreement is ours “or” The Male State – The Murder Agreement “.
In total, more than a thousand people, mainly young people, came. On the main shopping street in the European district of Istanbul, they are protesting against Turkey’s withdrawal from the Istanbul Conference to Prevent and Oppose Violence Against Women and Domestic Violence. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced his departure three months ago – on July 1, the final decision.
With this move, Erdogan is directly targeting women. Behind this, however, there is less chance of deliberate harm to the female gender than an attempt to unite a small group of conservative and strictly Islamic voters. Erdogan’s turnout has been declining for months – he needs more support now than ever before.
But the shot is likely to backfire: since the announcement of her withdrawal from the conference, women’s organizations have called for more public demonstrations than ever before.
Like July 1st in Istanbul. “Laws are written in the street,” 19-year-old Pere shouts out loud against the tumultuous noise of other protesters. Of course, the reason for his protest is frightening, he admits. But at present there is no trace of fear on the street. The crowd is always dancing to new spells and celebrating opposition.
“We give each other strength,” Perey shouts. Women should not be afraid, it is the government. “We stand shoulder to shoulder with the fear that the government is trying to encourage us.”
The policeman was wrong
Security officers positioned themselves around the cheering crowd. There are almost no female police officers in the front row – as always when women take to the streets in Turkey. A policeman who got himself a kabab laughs: “Women’s struggles are mostly quiet. Nothing will happen there. “
The man is wrong. Within half an hour, the anger of the activists was out of hand. They want to attack the police barricades leading to Central Taksim Square. For women it will be a sign of success. According to the police, they did not have permission.
Nonetheless, individual protesters climbed the barricades, waving at them, shouting and holding the rainbow flag to security officials in front of the sight of their hard hats. Women from the front line of the police are now exchanged for men.
Then a water bottle flies through the air. She came in from an activist and hit a police helmet. It heats up on both sides: security officials call it a water cannon for reinforcement, while opponents press their full force against obstacles. When they crossed the first barrier, some of them stumbled upon the protective shields taken from the police and threw them to the ground.
The sentence was almost drowned out by the roar of “loving women”
Suddenly something suddenly happens in Turkey: heavily armed police officers run away from protesting women and men. They seek protection behind a nearby arch. You may hear a woman’s voice from the police loudspeakers: “Dear ladies, publish your message, please back off.” Punishment is repeated countless times – and it is drowned out by the roar of “loving women”.
When the opponents almost break the next barrier, there is one shot, and then another and another: annoying gas. Instead of shouting their slogans, activists are now coughing and gasping for air. The police captured the moment and completed the demonstration forward.
On the one hand, a middle-aged woman is watching an angry cat and mouse game. A flag hangs around his neck with a portrait of Republican founder Ataturk. “He gave women many rights. We had more freedom than women in Europe, ”complains Nevin Glycorslan.
Now, on the other hand, a dictator is in power. “Really!” She shouts. “Erdogan is a great dictator, not a real Turk. He wants to destroy the attic, but he will never do it! “She is OK. Women will not let that happen. She stubbornly adds: “We’ll go out on the streets alone at night – we’m not scared!”
“Without conference, security for women against violence would be halved”
Nevin Kiligarslan’s opposition to a tragic new reality in Turkey: With the withdrawal from the Istanbul Conference, women will have to worry more about their physical integrity and their lives than ever before. “Without the conference, security for women against violence is half the battle,” says Macbell Oser, a lawyer from Ankara.
She has stood for decades for women who are threatened or harassed by men around them. It is always an important point that the Istanbul Convention will never apply directly to the courts, but patriarchal law cannot be ignored.
Now there is only Turkish law for women, especially the law numbered 6248. It makes violence against women a punishable offense, but: “The protection afforded by law begins only when the perpetrator has already committed an act of violence. Not everything that has happened before is fair, ”the lawyer said.
Under Turkish law, there is no way to protect women from men who drive them insane through persecution, repeated threats, intimidation and character assassination. Although the Istanbul Conference was not always implemented, it provided measures to counter this. “Through the conference, we were able to go to court during the persecution – it was now taken from us,” complains attorney zer.
“At least one woman dies every day in Turkey as a result of male violence”
Now the lawyers’ hands are almost tied, and the women stand alone – with a bitter outlook: because in some cases, terrorism ends in crime or attempted murder. “At least one woman dies every day in Turkey as a result of male violence,” explains lawyer zer.
The lawyer suspects that leaving the Istanbul conference will strengthen this trend: “This deal is like a psychological break for many men.” The reason: “The Istanbul Conference understands domestic violence as an expression of patriarchy. Anyone who uses violence will be punished. Very easy. “
On the other hand, under national law, prosecution often shows an understanding of violence and is complicit in the victim. “So this punishment can be reduced for purposes such as jealousy, slander, habits or the influence of alcohol.” This means: whoever kills a woman in Turkey in the future will no longer have to calculate the full seriousness of the law.
The lawyer estimates that this is the case in the population. “Leaving the conference has enormous psychological consequences and strengthens man’s desire for violence,” lawyer Oser learns from experience.
Erdogan has easy talk
He says the law alone is not enough to protect women. “We need clarity, education on gender roles and mandatory treatment for perpetrators of violence,” he demands. He has already made numerous requests for psychological support in court. “They are ignored every time.” The more Özer talks about this subject, the faster her voice changes. Echoes the excitement and helplessness.
Now, to all people, the man who caused the embarrassment of women wants to fix the situation: Erdogan. On the official day of his departure from the conference, he was in Ankara, where he addressed the Fourth Official Conference on the Struggle against Violence against Women.
“Leaving the conference is a sign of the respect we have for our women,” Erdogan said. At first glance, this method is reminiscent of a Turkish proverb used by men and even some women about domestic violence: “Where a man strikes, a rose grows.”
After all, Erdogan did not promise roses, but measures to eradicate the causes of violence – “at any cost.” He proudly presented a list to be implemented by 2025. However, in terms of content, he did not go into what actually happened.
Instead, he rumored that “changing” national laws was the first step. Erdogan only suggested when defining his understanding of equality as to which philosophy it might follow: “We have no room for the mentality of believing that one gender is superior to another. If there is any problem at home, women should also take responsibility. “
Erdogan has easy talk. Domestic violence does not affect him. On the contrary: there have been numerous reports of explosions of anger by the Turkish president, with alleged electronic devices being hurled at employees and confidants and slapped in the face by his family members. The people know the behavior of the head of state. For some men she is a role model, women rights activists on the side of Erdogan criminals.