Representatives of several women’s organisations in Izmir shared their views with Jin News on the raids targeting woman activists in Diyarbakır and the increasing attacks on women’s organisations and activists in Turkey.
Police detained 26 women activists, including Jin News reporter Beritan Canözer, during “home raids” on 5 April in Turkey’s Kurdish majority province of Diyarbakır (Amed).
Free Women’s Movement (TJA) and Rosa Women’s Association buildings were also raided. Eleven women were arrested by the court decision, 14 women were released on the condition of judicial control, and Peace Mother Nezahat Teke was released under house arrest.
Women activists in Turkey’s western province of Izmir have been closely following the attacks on fellow activists in the Kurdish majority provinces.
“These attacks on women’s associations are not the first. They have been constantly attacking women’s organisations, but the pressure on women’s organisations is more intense in Kurdish provinces,” said Cansu Erkmen, a member of the Purple Solidarity women’s organisation.
Recalling that during the rule of former Justice Minister Sadullah Ergin of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) women’s murders increased by four hundred percent in 2009, Zeynep Tuna from the İzmir Women’s Association said that it is unknown what the numbers are today.
”Women’s organisations provide legal and psychological counseling to women voluntarily. But pressures against women’s organisations continue,” Tuna said. “These pressures are valid for all of us, but they are more intense in Kurdish provinces. None of us are free from violence against women. We are in solidarity.”
According to many studies, women mostly trusted women’s institutions, Tuna said, adding, ”Women’s solidarity comes to life via women’s organisations. There is no other place for women. Will the women go to police stations for protection? No.”
Emine Akbaba, from the Women’s Defence group, said that the Turkish government is trying to legitimise the injustice using the pandemic as an “excuse”. She pointed out that the Turkish state actually attacks women’s rights to self-defence by attacking the women’s rights activists.
“Women are under blockade in every city and their voices are silenced. The attack on Rosa Women’s Association aims to terrorise and marginalise women and LGBTI+ people,” Akbaba said.
”We experienced something similar to what was done to the Rosa with the appointed the municipal trustees. The first practice of the trustee mayor was to close women’s associations and women’s shelters. We saw the same attitude at Boğaziçi University as they closed down the students’ clubs where the students could express their sexual identity freely,” Akbaba said. “We continue to raise the voice of the Rosa Women’s Association. You can detain their activists, but our solidarity cannot be contained by prison walls.”