Crime & Justice

Turkish police impede protest against gender violence in Istanbul

Istanbul, Nov 25 (EFE).- A massive police operation Friday in Turkey’s most populous city largely impeded a annual protest against gender violence that had been organized to mark International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women.

Heeding the call of different feminist movements, the demonstrators tried to assemble on Istanbul’s Istiklal Avenue, a pedestrian street that is a frequent gathering place for protest marches and festivities, but police barred access by blocking off numerous nearby streets.

Chanting “Not one more,” “Women are unstoppable” and “Women, life freedom,” hundreds of woman eventually gathered on side streets amid police barricades.

Several women who tried to surround the police cordon or push their way through to the demonstration were arrested, Turkish daily Evrensel reported, while metro service to the two stations nearest to Istiklal Avenue was suspended.

Protests also were held in the cities of Izmir, Balikesir and Bursa, most of which unfolded without incident. Other marches are scheduled for the weekend, including one in Istanbul.

A total of 280 women were killed in domestic violence incidents during the first 10 months of the year in Turkey, a figure similar to that of past years in that Muslim country of around 85 million inhabitants.

Femicides in Turkey are often committed by a woman’s husband or by a suitor whose advances are rejected, but there are also cases of fathers, brothers or other family members killing women because their lifestyle is deemed to be “indecent” or to have tarnished the family’s “honor.”

Gender violence in Turkey continues to rise, but there is also a growing movement by women to combat that scourge, sociologist and feminist Yildiz Ecevit told Efe.

Turkey was the first of 38 countries to ratify the 2011 Istanbul Convention, a Council of Europe treaty aimed at preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence.

But it became the first and only country to withdraw from that convention last year due to pressure from Islamist groups who argued that the text promotes homosexuality and undermines the traditional family. EFE


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