The Women of Turkey Won’t Give Up Without A Fight #Vaw


June 11, 2013 by  

When tens of thousands in Turkey took to protesting the government, beginning at the end of May, the demographics were astonishing to many global observers: At least half of the protesters are women. What is it about Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s government that has so many women fighting back? Sevi, a woman protestor who’s camping out in Gezi Park, told TIME,

The reason there are so many women out here is that this government is antiwomen. … They don’t want to see women in public spaces. They want to see them in the home. And women have had enough.

Turkish women have every right to be angry with their government. Erdoğan has voiced his opinion many times that abortions in the country should be banned and that women should have three children each. Last year Erdoğan said, “There is no difference between killing a baby in its mother’s stomach and killing a baby after birth.”

Erdoğan is also getting criticism for not doing enough to stop violence against women. About 39 percent of women in Turkey have been physically abused, according to a recent U.N. report. Turkish protesters have said their prime minister is attempting to bring conservative Islamic values to their secular state.

A Turkish protester shows off her tattoo that reads “K. Atatürk,” the signature of Turkey’s first president, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk. The tattoo has become a popular symbol for those who want to preserve a secular state in the country.

The protests began on May 28 in Taksim Gezi Park in Istanbul as a relatively small campaign of 100 people to stop the park’s 600 trees from being cut down to make way for a shopping mall. When police used tear gas and water cannons against these peaceful protesters and burned their tents down, the protests gained traction and soon transformed into what was clearly an anti-government movement.

Despite the Turkish deputy prime minister apologizing for the excessive police force, thousands of Turkish people are still protesting in the streets, chanting sayings such as “Dictator resign!” One of these protesters, Ozge Cesur, told The New York Times that she and her friends aren’t satisfied with the apology:

The apology that we have been waiting for a long time [for] came far too late. … We will stay here until Erdogan himself comes up and takes us seriously in making decisions.

After 11 days of protests, with more than 5,000 people injured and three dead, Erdoğan did finallyagree on Monday to meet with protesters. But his announcement sounded more like a threat than a promise to negotiate. Erdoğan has warned that his patience “has a limit” and that:

Those who attempt to sink the bourse [the stock market], you will collapse. [Some have accused the protesters of causing the recent downturn in Turkey’s economy.] …. If we catch your speculation, we will choke you. No matter who you are, we will choke you.

But while Erdoğan doesn’t seem to be willing to back down, neither do those demonstrating.

Protester Ozlem Altiok, chatting with friends in Gezi Park about Erdoğan’s policies (including his call for women to each have three children), said, “Would he like more children like us?”

Photos of Turkish protesters by Flickr user Burak Su, under Creative Commons 2.0

 

Press Release- TAKSIM SOLIDARITY


Disclaimer and Disclosure to the Statement of Deputy PM Bülent Arınç:

After the meeting of the Council of Ministers on June 10th, the Government Spokesperson and the Vice Prime Minister Bülent Arınç stated that “There will be a meeting with a committee”. We hereby inform the public that the explanation given by the Bülent Arınç has nothing to do with the Solidarity and there is no demand by the Taksim Solidarity for a “meeting” with the council.

11 June 2013 Press Release

11 June 2013

On the 14th day of the Gezi Park protests, resisters are responded once again with riot control vehicles and tear gas!

The only difference between the police raid which happened 10 days ago at 5 am and today’s raid is the timing. Today, the police intervention started at 7 am in Taksim for a change; however, there are already tens of injured people and a police blockage causing public worry.

One can speak neither of democracy nor of dialogue when there is a blockage.There is not a single response to the demands of Taksim Solidarity, which are the shared wishes of the citizens; however, they hope that dividing the park-savers and the marginal
groups among those, who stand shoulder to shoulder for any kind of solidarity in Gezi Park, would help. Nobody should think that such a division among people who protect their park and living space would be helpful. We are going to stay together, and build our legitimate and righteous demands with solidarity.

As TAKSIM SOLIDARITY, we represent the feelings and the demands of millions of citizens who have been struggling to create public awareness against the project that would concretize Gezi Park, who lied in front of engineering vehicles to stop them, who were exposed to excessive police violence, who regarded the police violence against those who supported the park day and night and their living spaces as if it was against their own; and we announce once again that we will never let anybody scandalise our struggle in one way or another!

As it is kept abreast by the public, the committee of Taksim Solidarity has held a meeting with the Deputy Prime Minister Bülent Arınç and submitted their demands to the government in this meeting. Although no account has been given considering these demands by the government, attempting to hold a meeting with another committee, the formation of which is unclear to the public, is not an effort to create a sincere process of dialogue but an effort towards misguiding the public and towards weakening the roots of the righteous and legitimate demands of millions of people from all over the country. Today’s police intervention is a proof of government’s intention and attitude towards its own people.

Demands are clear. The addressee is obvious: Taksim Solidarity.

AKP government tries to create a polarization among public by holding alternative meetings, threatens its own citizens and rejects the demands of hundreds of thousands of people who in 77 cities of the country, primarily in Kızılay (Ankara), cries out their wishes in the streets, people who dance, sing and read poems to express their demands in Gezi Park and in squares; people among whom are women, children, LGBT’s, workers, religious people and non-believers.

We are worried about this government. We want to announce to the public that they, who have no legitimate policy except building concrete barracks against a park, except police violence and alternative meetings against demand for peace in the society, do nothing but a sin.

We want to repeat once again: stop using police violence against people who protect their living space and the park. Release those who are under custody. Relieve those who are responsible for two-week long police violence of duty; announce that our first and foremost demand will be realised, and announce officially that NOT A SINGLE SQUAREMETRE OF GEZI PARK WILL BECOME CONCRETE AND GEZI PARK WILL REMAIN AS A PARK!

The legitimacy of our demands cannot be denied either by the bill of human rights, or by universal law; these demands are supported all over the country and the world; and we insist on guarding our demands! We will be here until a concrete step is taken to realise the demands of the young people who protect Taksim and Gezi Park, of the women who gather in squares, of those who watched the Park day and night without sleeping or who supported the protesters with their heart at their homes, in other words, to meet the demands of the people and bring peace among the citizens.

We will be protecting our park and our squares with a great solidarity with our citizens until our demands are taken seriously and a concrete step is taken.

We are waiting for all those who protect Gezi at 19.00 in Taksim.

We are here, we are going nowhere.

TAKSIM SOLIDARITY

http://taksimsolidarity.org/

 

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