Women around Turkey on July 22 protested the brutal murder of 27-year-old Pınar Gültekin by her ex-boyfriend, the latest in a series of femicides in the country, urging Ankara to not back away from the Istanbul Convention.
The young woman’s body was recovered in a wooded area in the western province of Muğla after she had been missing for five days, sparking outrage in the country where hundreds of women were murdered by men in 2019 and dozens reported domestic violence each day.
Women gathered in the Beşiktaş district of Istanbul on the Bosphorus to protest the murder of Gültekin and chanted “Life and freedom for women” and “You will never walk alone,” a common motto among women in Turkey who protest male violence and femicides.
One of the activists in Istanbul’s Beşiktaş district noted that the Family, Labor and Social Services Ministry said they would “get involved” with the investigation into Gültekin’s murder.
“They should get involved, but we’d like to remind the Family Ministry that it’s the Istanbul Convention that allows their involvement,” said the activist.
Officially the “Convention on Preventing and Combating Violence Against Women and Domestic Violence,” Istanbul Convention is a key piece of the legislation that protects women’s rights in Turkey.
Some officials from the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) recently suggested Ankara’s recusal from the international convention, sparking debate within the party itself, as well as nationwide.
“Mister Justice Minister, Mister Interior Minister, Mis Family Minister, where are you all? There’s a war between men and women,” said Fidan Ataselim, Secretary General for the We Will Stop Femicides Platform.
Meanwhile across the Bosphorus, women gathered in Istanbul’s Kadiköy district to protest Gültekin’s femicide and carried a large banner that read “stop femicides urgently!”
“We’re not being quiet, we’re not afraid, we won’t submit! We’re expanding the rebellion in Istanbul Kadiköy!” tweeted non-governmental women’s organization NAR Women’s Solidarity.
“We will not leave our rights or our lives up to misogynists and bigots! We will tear them down to stay alive!”
Police batters protesters in Izmir, detains 15
Meanwhile in the western province of Izmir, police intervened with and stopped a group of women protesting femicides.
Gathered through NGO “Women Stronger Together,” the women started to march after holding a press conference, only to be violently halted by police.
Officers dragged women on the ground, battered protesters and detained about 15 people as the crowd chanted “murdered women are our rebellion!”
‘We know Pınar’s killer’
A group of women also gathered in the western province of Muğla where 27-year-old Pınar Gültekin’s body was recovered.
“We know the killer, we know where he gets his guts and where he learned to discredit Pınar in his first statement. We’ve seen him in police stations and court rooms time and time again,” said the press statement in Muğla.
“Femicides are not natural disasters. They can be stopped, but you can’t stop them by meddling with the Istanbul Convention,” said a spokeswoman for a group of protesters in Aegean Izmir.
Protests were also held in the northern province of Samsun and the capital Ankara.