United Nations General Assembly
Distr.: General 14 June 2021
Human Rights Council Forty-seventh session 21 June–9 July 2021 Agenda item 3
Promotion and protection of all human rights, civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights, including the right to development Written statement* submitted by Mouvement contre le racisme et pour l’amitié entre les peuples, a non governmental organization on the roster
The Secretary-General has received the following written statement which is circulated in accordance with Economic and Social Council resolution 1996/31.
[30 May 2021]
* Issued as received, in the language(s) of submission only.
Turkey: violence against women
Following the adoption of the Decree of Law issued under the State of Emergency in 2016, Jinên Azad (KJA), the umbrella organization of the Kurdish women’s movement (49 women’s institutions); Women’s news agency JINHA, women’s associations (almost all mass women’s associations), foundations, newspapers and publications have been closed. Thousands of academics, writers and journalists have been fired in Turkey. In addition, the assets, bank accounts, buildings and materials used in the work of the closed women’s institutions were unlawfully confiscated. In particular, the confiscation by security forces of documents containing the application stories and credentials of women who applied to women’s centers and associations, which should be kept confidential, created an unprotected environment for women who continued to be at risk of violence.
SOURCES OF VIOLENCE, LACK OF DATA AND WITHDRAWAL FROM ISTANBUL CONVENTION
The KJA continued its work mostly in the South-East provinces and carried out many studies on male/state violence through existing institutions and the press. The Government did not respond, despite repeated requests by female HDP deputies for data on male violence in 81 provinces. The Ministry of Family, Labor and Social welfare ministry’s reluctance to give any clarification has spread the idea that violence against women is being covered up by the government.
The data presented below is related to violence’s accessible data. Although the actual violence data is much higher than these numbers, the government’s approaches to concealing all acts of violence against women and their consequences have made it almost impossible to access official figures and resources.
In 2020, 2,520 women in Turkey reported violence against them by men; often, women are subject to multiple forms of violence. Regardless of the reason for the application, women are subjected to intense psychological violence. When we look at this data; 775 women have requested shelter, 250 women have been subjected to economic violence and have requested help, 712 women have filed for divorce as a result of the violence they have suffered, and 113 women have applied after the sexual assault. All 670 women have applied to institutions as a result of any violence they have been subjected to. With 18 years of AKP rule, women’s crime increased by 1,400 per 100. More than 3,000 Kurdish women have been murdered by men since the Justice and Development Party (AKP) came to power.
In South-East Turkey, predominantly inhabited by Kurdish people, at least 41 women were murdered by their ex-husbands, brothers and boyfriends in 2020, and 60 women died suspiciously. The suspected female mortality rate is almost one and a half times the rate of unsolved death. This data tells us that even the causes of death of women are not adequately investigated and cared for within the patriarchal system that protects men. It is recorded as a “suspicious death” without an effective investigation. It’s officially a system- sponsored massacre of women. Female massacres are not carried out by individual male perpetrators.
In recent months, cases of sexual harassment and rape have doubled again in Kurdistan. For example, an attempt was made to rape a thirteen-year-old girl in Shirnak, and in Batman, a 17-year-old girl named I. committed suicide as a result of systematic rapes. In both cases, the perpetrators were petty officers and sergeants from the Turkish army. The acts of these uniformed criminals (as in hundreds of examples) were covered up by the state and once again the principle of impunity was tried to be operated.
Violence against women has increased many times, especially as a result of the 2016 state of emergency and the government’s Trustee policies. At this stage, the government’s policies of repression and violence reached the withdrawal of Turkey’s from Council of Europe Istanbul Convention (Council of Europe Convention on the Prevention and Combating Violence against Women and Domestic Violence) on the evening of March 20, 2021, with the single signature of President Erdogan.
In the periods after the Istanbul Convention was signed, the pressure and influence of various Islamic sects, communities and structures were known. In early July 2020, AKP Deputy Leader Numan Kurtulmush announced that the signing of the agreement was a mistake. Targeting the Convention by Islamic, conservative groups; the perception that it challenges traditional gender image, encourages lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender groups and puts the “sacred- traditional family” structure at risk has been spread through the community. As a consequence, new massacres were committed by encouraging the increase of male violence against women and LGBTQ+ individuals. The withdrawal from the Convention paves the way for perpetrators of violence against women to become virtually protected by the judiciary.
According to the news content obtained through JINHA, the data on violence against women throughout Turkey for the first three months of 2021 are as follows: in January; twenty-four women were murdered by their closest relatives, while 14 died suspiciously. In February; twenty-four women were murdered by their closest relatives, while five women died suspiciously. In March; male violence jumped due to the misogynistic policies of the government which withdrew from the Istanbul Convention and, as a result, 27 women were murdered by men close to them, while 15 died suspiciously. While there has been an increase in child abuse, the judiciary has not stopped imposing a “good behavior reduction” on perpetrators.
JUDICIAL HARASSMENT, TORTURE AND MISTREATMENT OF FEMALE POLITICIANS
At a time when the Covid-19 virus is in high intensity and people are afraid to leave their homes, judicial harassment against women continues to increase with midnight operations carried out without regard to hygiene and Covid 19 rules.
Numerous women’s homes were raided by law enforcement officers accompanied by dogs (Rojbîn Cetin was held in her house and tortured with a dog for 3.5 hours), but no law enforcement officer has been investigated. On the contrary, his lawyer who disclosed this situation has been investigated and this investigation continues.
Arrests, arbitrary detentions and torture of women took place everywhere. On February 27, 2021, several elderly and sick women were detained for days, 12 were arrested and 17 were released under the condition of judicial control, including Hatun Aslan (71) Mary Soylu (79) and Makbule Ozbek (70), a peace mother with severe chronic conditions. Also on 5April 2021, 11 women were released under the condition of judicial control and 17 women were arrested, including one under house arrest.
In these political operations, which have been heavily targeted at the struggle and representation of Kurdish women in the last year; there are hundreds of selected Kurdish female prisoners, many of whom have been arrested in similar operations such as Leyla Guven, Ayshe Gokkan and Ayla Akat Ata, who have played a leading role in the women’s struggle, and who are held as political hostages in prisons such as Kandira and Silivri.
MRAP calls upon Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, the Special Rapporteur on violence against women, its causes and consequences, the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders and the Special Rapporteur on minority issues, each one in the framework of his/her mandate, to pay particular attention to the cases of violence against women in Turkey and to request a visit to the country.