Women are set to play a decisive role in the upcoming local elections in Turkey, said Halide Türkoğlu, spokeswoman for the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Equality and Democracy Party (DEM Party) Women’s Council, emphasising their pivotal influence in shaping the future of local governance.
In her speech during a central meeting with female co-chairs from various provinces on Saturday, Türkoğlu drew attention to the ongoing conflicts in the region, from the war in Ukraine to the assaults on Kurdish-led North and East Syria, emphasising the disproportionate impact on women and children. Despite these challenges, she reaffirmed their commitment to peace and resistance against imperialism-induced wars.
Addressing the isolation of Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) leader Abdullah Öcalan in İmralı Island Prison and the resistance movement against it, Türkoğlu commended the hunger strikes by political prisoners and the justice vigils held by their families, particularly the mothers, for peace. She highlighted their unwavering support and determination to elevate the struggle for a dignified justice and peace.
Türkoğlu criticised the “Turkish-male judiciary” for its failure to protect women from violence and femicide, accusing the state of siding with male perpetrators. She condemned the government’s rollback of women’s rights, including the withdrawal from the Istanbul Convention and attacks on alimony rights. “The strongest response to this government will come from us, women,” she declared.
Focusing on the local elections, Türkoğlu praised the unique democratic process undertaken by the DEM Party, involving nearly 100,000 delegates in a public vote, setting a precedent for direct democracy in governance. “Time is for women, and cities will belong to women,” Türkoğlu remarked, encapsulating the essence of their movement towards establishing a democratic, ecological and women-centric governance model across cities. She urged the DEM Party’s female leaders to unite behind their women candidates, embodying the principles of equal representation as their steadfast commitment in the quest for rights and justice in the local elections.