Since the day of its accession, Justice and Development Party (JDP) government has been propagating itself with the slogan "zero tolerance against violence" and signed last year the “Council of Europe Convention on Preventing and Combating Violence against Women and Domestic Violence” also known as “Istanbul Convention”; nevertheless, contradictorily, the government has been insistently continuing with producing and practicing policies that condensing gender inequalities. Every day, women are being confronted with the consequences of sexist policies of the government concretized with such occasions when the former “Ministry for Women” was redefined as “Ministry for Family”, sufficient budgets were not reserved for combating male violence against women, no political will was put forth so far in struggling against violence and especially when there was a government interference against the rights of women on cesarean delivery and abortion. 

The resistance that originally broke out for preventing the cutting down of the trees in Gezi Park shortly spread all around Turkey, rapidly evolving into a movement of rebellion against JDP policies. According to a research conducted by Konda (a research company) among Gezi Park protestors, more than half of the people involved are women. Willing to raise their voice against the oppressive regime of JDP, women were on the streets, resisting and struggling. In return, like all protestors, they were exposed to heavy state violence. Not only the protestors, but also other citizens that were not involved were affected because of extensive use of gas, since in a considerable number of cases, gas canisters were thrown into houses and even hospitals. Many were detained without any fair grounds and the detained women were verbally, sexually and physically harassed, openly and in particular by male police officers. 

Since the first day of resistance, Prime Minister Erdoğan has been addressing citizens with an irreconcilable tone and once again, women have been his main target. Erdoğan’s policies that aim the domestic confinement of women was reflected in the way he addressed protesting women and asked them to give account of “the purposes for which ‘some of the women’ are going to Gezi Park”, the place where the resisting women were actually experiencing a collective living alternative. It is also clear that Erdoğan’s rhetoric on the discrimination against covered women is from a perspective that instrumentalizes women instead of standing on their side. 

In one of his recent statements, Erdoğan advised women and men “to bring down the conspiracy of birth control”. This speech by the Prime Minister is an explicit violation of CEDAW Convention, where Turkey is a signatory. In Article 12 of CEDAW the following provision is included, as regards the access of women to birth control methods: “States Parties shall take all appropriate measures to eliminate discrimination against women in the field of health care in order to ensure, on a basis of equality of men and women, access to health care services, including those related to family planning”. However, the Prime Minister is expressly violating this convention signed by Turkey by claiming that the right already secured in the international CEDAW Convention is “a conspiracy” and by manipulating the women into giving up on birth control practices. 

It is also worrying to testify that the related state minister for women, Fatma Şahin, who must actually stand with and support women in this process, has been reproducing the same anti-democratic rhetoric of the government in the area of social politics and nodding on every word of Erdoğan, all along the recent process, during which 5 people were killed, 11 people lost their eye, and 8.041 people were wounded, 60 of them heavily. This is also our call to Fatma Şahin to leave aside such discriminative policies that deepen the gender inequality and to make policies in order to support and liberate women. 

Mor Çatı