Turkish Court Overrules Closure of Women’s NGO for ‘Immorality’


A court in Istanbul has overruled a prosecutor’s demand to close ‘We Will Stop Femicide Platform’, a major women’s rights NGO in Turkey, over its alleged ‘actions against morality’.

A court in Istanbul has overruled a prosecution demand to close one of Turkey’s major women’s rights groups, We Will Stop Femicide Platform, for its alleged ‘immorality”.

“We will continue to fight. We will not give up our rights and political struggle,” Fidan Ataselim, General Secretary of We Will Stop Femicide Platform said after a hearing in front of the courthouse.

Ataselim said that President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s government did not take into account “women’s power”.

“The government and those who would like strip us from our rights did not take into account our organised struggle. They will continue to see us all over the country, whenever they try to impinge our rights,” Ataselim added.

The prosecutor’s office filed a lawsuit in April 2022 seeking to close the We Will Stop Femicide Platform for “acting against the law and against morality”.

The NGO was established 12 years ago to protest against the murders of women in the country but has since become one of Turkey’s most prominent social movements. It has organised several mass demonstrations over the increasing number of femicides and over the government’s inaction to protect women and end domestic violence.

Before the court hearing, police detained two women for carrying rainbow flags.

“The rainbow [flag] is not a crime, discrimination is a crime. We will continue to fly the rainbow flag not only in the courthouse but all over Turkey. We will continue to fight,” Ataselim said.

Femicides and violence against women are major problems in Turkey. So far this year, at least 189 women have been killed by men in the country; 403 women were killed by men in 2022 and 429 in 2020.

Turkey was the first country to ratify the Council of Europe’s Convention on Combating Violence Against Women, the so-called Istanbul Convention in 2011.

But Islamist and conservative critics claimed that it undermined traditional family values, and President Erdogan withdrew the country from the treaty in 2021.

The We Will Stop Femicide Platform and its leader Gulsum Kav were at forefront of several nationwide demonstrations to urge the government to rejoin the Istanbul Convention, but their calls were dismissed by the authorities.

Gulsum Kav is a medical doctor and human rights activist who has dedicated her life to protect women from gender-based violence and murder in Turkey.

Source : Balkaninsight