Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) Women’s Council spokesperson and MP Ayşe Acar Başaran has said that violence against women has been on the rise in Kurdish-majority cities ruled by trustees appointed by the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), Mezopotamya News Agency reported on Wednesday.
Speaking at an event organised to discuss how a joint struggle can be established to tackle the damage done by the trustees against women’s achievements, Başaran said that the first thing the trustees had done was to shut down women-related institutions.
“They have targeted our women’s institutions, but that’s not just it. This is the result of a policy. The AKP-MHP alliance has been implementing their politics with a patriarchal understanding,” Başaran told the event organised in the Kurdish-majority southeastern province of Diyarbakır (Amed), referring also to the far-right Nationalist Movement Party that is in a coalition with the government.
“These trustees worked to reflect this ideological understanding in the local councils. They tried to turn our understanding of local governance upside down,” she added.
As part of a large-scale crackdown since 2016, Turkey’s Interior Ministry appointed dozens of trustees to previously HDP-run local councils in Turkey’s southeast over the mayors’ alleged links to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). Many of the mayors were later arrested on “terror” charges that are perceived as bogus by critics.
The HDP appoint one male and one female as mayors to promote gender equality, calling them co-mayors, although only one is recognised by the central government.
According to Ayşe Acar Başaran, only a handful of institutions were left for women to seek help from. And those that were left are frequently targeted by the government.
“Women do not prefer to apply to government-linked centres when they are subjected to violence. They have either been sent home or been accused themselves. Women were feeling safer in our council centres,” Başaran said.
“Their aim is to create women who obey men and the state,” she added.