In a shocking defense statement at a court hearing, Islamist columnist Abdurrahman Dilipak's lawyer has defended his client by saying that Dilipak had not referred to supporters of the Istanbul Convention as "prostitutes,” but rather the remark was used for LGBTI+ individuals.
“In the article [of Dilipak], there is not a single remark towards women. Instead of 'prostitutes and derivatives,' write 'gays and derivatives,' what does it matter? It [the article] has talked about the Istanbul Convention's negative effects on family life and criticized activism movement,” the lawyer said.
Also, referring to the government's withdrawal from the international treaty, the lawyer said: “Turkey has gotten rid of the spoon that it was made to swallow 10 years ago.”
In an article published in pro-government newspaper Yeni Akit on July 27, 2020, Dilipak insulted supporters of the Istanbul Convention within the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), referring to them as “prostitutes and their derivatives.”
In his article named “AKP's daisies,” Dilipak suggested that a group of people within the AKP had been relying on the European Union funds and various other funds, which he called the “Green Capital.”
“Will our ‘Green Capital’ show loyalty to its cause and raise its voice against these prostitutes and their derivatives?” Dilipak wrote in his column.
The AKP's women branches across Turkey later filed a lawsuit against Dilipak for his comments. The second hearing of the case took place in Istanbul's Küçükçekmece 2nd Penal Court of First Instance on Nov. 17.
Lawyers of the Women's Platform for Equality (EŞİK), an umbrella organization of over 340 women's and LGBTI+ organizations, also attended the court hearing, demanding to be involved in the case. They said that Dilipak had insulted all women defending the Istanbul Convention.
Pro-gov't rights group wants 'Istanbul Convention' mask taken off
Lawyers representing the Women and Democracy Association (KADEM), of which President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's daughter Sümeyye Erdoğan Bayraktar is the deputy chair, also attended the court hearing, with a similar demand for the organization to be involved in the case.
But rather than Dilipak's insulting remarks against defenders of the Istanbul Convention, EŞİK volunteer lawyers' masks became an issue at the hearing.
KADEM's lawyers demanded that EŞİK lawyers take off their maks reading “Istanbul Convention is ours,” arguing that the masks were a tool of “propaganda.” Also, the lawyers' statement that the KADEM was “established after the Istanbul Convention was accepted” showed that the organization's stance towards the treaty had changed.
There have been mixed messages from the KADEM with regards to Erdoğan's move to pull the country out of the treaty earlier this year. Although having announced support for the treaty in previous remarks, the organization also stated that it considers LGBTI+s as a threat to "the family and the continuity of generations."
Meanwhile, the court said that it will consider the women groups' demand to be involved in the case, and postponed the hearing to March 9, 2022.