Turkish Court Rejects Attempt to Shut Down Anti-Femicide Campaign Group
In a rare victory for a Turkish rights group, a court in Turkey has rejected a prosecutor’s attempt to shut down the We Will Stop Femicide Platform. The group has been at the forefront of the fight against femicide and violence against women in the country since 2010. The court’s decision comes at a time when Turkey is seeking to mend ties with its Western allies.
The We Will Stop Femicide Platform representative, Nursen Inal, expressed her happiness at the court’s ruling but also emphasized that the trial should not have taken place in the first place. The group had been facing charges of violating administrative laws and “morality,” although they were never presented with an explanation as to which specific laws they were supposed to have violated.
The campaign group has been a target of criticism from Islamic conservatives, particularly after it spoke out against President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s decision to withdraw Turkey from a European convention aimed at combating violence against women. Additionally, conservative members of Erdogan’s ruling party accused the group of damaging traditional family values by advocating for LGBTQ rights.
Erdogan himself has been openly critical of the LGBTQ community, branding them as “perverse” and denouncing their supporters during his re-election campaign earlier this year. This stance has raised concerns among rights activists who accuse Erdogan of undermining democratic norms in the country.
According to the We Will Stop Femicide Platform, there were 403 reported cases of femicide in Turkey last year, and 423 cases in 2021. These alarming statistics highlight the urgent need for action to address violence against women in the country.
The move to prosecute the anti-femicide campaign group has raised concerns among human rights activists who have long criticized Erdogan’s government for its disregard for democratic principles. Turkey has recently reaffirmed its commitment to resume negotiations to join the European Union. However, the EU’s enlargement commissioner has made it clear that tangible progress in terms of democracy and the rule of law is necessary for Turkey’s accession to the bloc.
The court’s decision to reject the attempt to shut down the We Will Stop Femicide Platform is a positive step towards protecting women’s rights in Turkey. It sends a message that efforts to silence voices advocating for gender equality and an end to violence against women will not be tolerated.
However, this victory should not overshadow the ongoing challenges faced by women in Turkey. The high number of femicide cases is a stark reminder of the urgent need for comprehensive measures to address violence against women, including improved legislation, better law enforcement, and increased support for survivors.
The court’s decision also serves as a reminder of the importance of civil society organizations in promoting human rights and holding governments accountable. The We Will Stop Femicide Platform has played a crucial role in raising awareness about the issue of femicide in Turkey and advocating for change. It is essential that such organizations are allowed to operate freely and without fear of reprisals.
As Turkey seeks to strengthen its ties with Western allies, it must prioritize the protection of human rights and the promotion of gender equality. Addressing violence against women should be a key focus, and efforts to silence those advocating for change must be firmly rejected.
The court’s rejection of the attempt to shut down the We Will Stop Femicide Platform is a small victory in the larger fight for women’s rights in Turkey. It is a reminder that progress is possible, but there is still much work to be done.