HDP MPs walk out of parliament committee meeting, protesting Interior Minister Soylu

HDP lawmakers who are members of the parliament's Committee on Equality of Opportunity for Women and Men walked out of its May 27 meeting after Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu held a presentation on violence against women.

Duvar English

Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) members of the parliament's Committee on Equality of Opportunity for Women and Men on May 27 protested Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu after he held a presentation on violence against women.

Following Soylu's two-hour-long presentation, HDP MP Filiz Kerestecioğlu took the floor and addressed the committee in a five-minute-long speech.

Kerestecioğlu said that as long as politicians maintain their sexist discourse, gender-based violence against women in the country will continue to prevail.

The HDP MP slammed Soylu for claiming in April that there was a 26 percent decrease in the femicides following Turkey's withdrawal from the Istanbul Convention, an international treaty specially designed to tackle violence against women.

“We want a clean society, politics and judiciary. We know that the people of this country have no longer patience. As long as the male-dominant politics' dirty and sexist structure continues, women will continue to be killed,” she said.

“You are boasting about things you did with arrogance as if you were the one who accomplished them, but the truth is not like that. There is a serious struggle behind all that. There is law no 6284, and prior to that law no 4320, and other law before that,” Kerestecioğlu said, referring to the laws to protect women's rights. 

Following her speech, Kerestecioğlu left a cardboard on the commission table showing names of 106 women killed in the first four months of this year in Turkey. Along with other HDP lawmakers, she then left the committee meeting in protest of Soylu over his inaction to combat domestic violence and constant use of sexist language.

Last week, Soylu again drew the criticism of several people for using a masculine language that insults women. In his war of words with Sedat Peker, Soylu on May 19 referred to the mafia leader as a “helpless and shameless man who is taking refuge behind his wife's underwear.”

Activists have pointed out that every public official needs to comply with the principles of gender equality and that if Turkey had implemented the Istanbul Convention properly, an attitude as that of Soylu would have brought his resignation.

“The person whom Soylu is insulting here is in fact not his addressee [Peker], but instead women, who constitute half of the population of this country. He is, therefore, instrumentalizing women to insult a man,” they said.