HDP MP Ayşe Acar Başaran spoke to Mesopotamia Agency (MA) about the women’s struggle in Turkey. Defining the women’s struggle as “third way politics”, Başaran stressed that women in Turkey insist on resistance against the suffocating policies and policies of isolation.
Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) Women’s Council and Party Assembly (PM) organised a meeting to evaluate the ongoing isolation against PKK Leader Abdullah Öcalan, the closure of HDP and the decision to withdraw from the Istanbul Convention.
One of the participants of that critical meeting was Ayşe Acar Başaran, the HDP MP and the spokesperson of the Women’s Council of the HDP and she answered questions of the Mesopotamia Agency.
What were the main discussions and headlines of the meetings?
We discussed mainly the recent developments, which are about the attempts to close the HDP, Turkey’s withdrawal from the Istanbul Convention and the ongoing isolation of Mr. Öcalan..
First of all, there has been an isolation imposed upon Mr. Öcalan for such a long time. Isolation has not just happened now, but it has become an ongoing process has an affect on the whole of society. When we ask anyone how you feel, they say “I feel breathless.” The impact of security policies have an affect on society in other ways. In that sense, isolation is actually a form of government. A form of government that was not just initiated on Mr. Öcalan in İmralı, but spreads to the whole of society.
When you throw a stone into water, the trace of rings left by that stone can be seen as the effect of this isolation. The rings represent war politics, poverty, violence against women, pillage of nature. These we all of topics we discussed in our meeting.
We discussed that the country walks on a path which is turning into a more militarist, money orientated, male-dominant regime. The attacks against the opposition were definitely on our agenda of discussions.
As the HDP, we have been struggling for a long time already. The line of resistance has been determined even more and the ‘third way’ politics we offered has really been embraced by the people. That’s is why the attack on our party has been getting even more intense..
In brief, we have collectively assessed the ways to struggle and resist against the policy of isolation imposed on Mr. Öcalan, imposed on society as a whole and imposed on the opposition in Turkey.
In which ways does the Women’s Council raise the struggle against this isolation policy you discussed during the meeting?
First of all, it should be stated why isolation is a reason of struggle for women. Women are more familiar with being isolated, so they embrace it as a fundamental reason of struggle. Therefore, it is one of our main issues. Because we have been isolated from society for thousands of years.
Women take the burden of the consequences of the politics of war, security policies and ignoring the Kurdish problem. Women are experiencing the deepest poverty, effects of sexist and militarist policies. More than six women are murdered in one day in Turkey.
Within such a perspective, we will organise our local councils with all the participating women. As the Women’s Council, we will not stop fighting against this isolation regime in the streets, squares, parliament and in all areas of life and to break the isolation with democratic ways and methods.
In the meeting, you have mainly discussed that “HDP is a women’s party” when discussing the attempts to close the party. Why is the HDP a women’s party?
HDP is not based on a single approach or perspective. We took over the 40-year-old Kurdish women’s struggle, all the experience and knowledge of a feminist struggle of more than half of a century.
HDP Women’s Council consists of Alevi, Sunni, Yazidi, Kurdish and many other women from other ethnicities and religious beliefs. We are a women’s party that embraces women from different languages and colours.
HDP is a women’s party, because it is based on the co-chair system from the very top to the local management levels. HDP has an understanding of politics that is lead by the idea of women’s equal representation in politics and in all areas of life.
It is a party that defends women’s leadership and freedom as a priority. HDP’s main struggle includes the struggle for gender equality. So, for all these reasons, we can say that the HDP is a women’s party.
What do you think about the decision to withdraw from the Istanbul Convention? You have held some local and international meetings regarding the issue. What are the consequences of these meetings?
By the words of a one man, the achievements of women cannot be destroyed just like that. We know it very well and they know it very well, that the President has no such legal authority.
The effective implementation of the Istanbul Convention is part of the “emergency action plan”. We need to strengthen our organisation, which is our strongest defense mechanism. We are ready to take responsibility for the alliance of women and the construction of a free life.
A commission was established in the parliament and all the institutions that came to this commission emphasised how important the Istanbul Convention is. However, the parliamentary commission for the Istanbul Convention was not able to reach any result for over a year..
While our friends were determinedly trying for this report, the AKP’s Chairman said, “I withdraw from the contract,” in the middle of a night.
The government’s concern is not to protect women. It is a message that “I am your sovereign”. This is the new character of the regime.
For example; Why was the the decision to withdraw from the Convention not discussed at the parliament?Because it would pave the way for more discussion in society.
We did not withdraw, the AKP chairman withdrew from the Convention. For this reason, we will continue to defend these achievements in the coming days.
For example, Poland is also discussing withdrawing from the Convention. The most important issue we discussed in these meetings is the international women’s struggle which embodies women in different countries, with different political views, but who struggle against the same mentality of different states.. A joint struggle is needed and we are aware of our responsibility to organise this joint struggle..
We will announce more on our action plans in the upcoming period.
As HDP Women’s Council will discuss “Women’s poverty” in a series of events organised as part of your Justice for Women and Justice for All campaign. What kind of works will you carry out in this context?
We will work on another dimension of injustice. Poverty is one of the most critical debates in the country now as millions of people suffer from the economic crisis amid the pandemic.
The labour of women and high unemployment rates are certain issues that we will discuss. We will reach women through our meetings, panels and events, try to listen to their problems and try to come together in solidarity to overcome this process.
What are the plans of the HDP for an “urgent action plan”?
The effective implementation of the Istanbul Convention is a part of our “emergency action plan”.
It is a part of this plan to introduce new politics to prevent women’s poverty.
The government is not able to produce any urgent action plan for the women who are continuously being killed as if the government has no responsibility in those murders. As women, we need to strengthen our defence mechanism and organisation. It is necessary to talk about how we can craft a new life together and create an alternative life.
That is why organising women in all aspects of life is a part of our urgent action plan. We are in cotnact with various organisations and activists to take solid steps for these plans. We are calling on all women: Let’s form a women’s alliance. Let’s get together to build a free life.