“The 14 May 2023 elections formed the most misogynist parliamentary majority in Turkey’s history, initiating a period of serious setbacks to the secular legal system and women’s rights,” the Women’s Platform for Equality (EŞİK), a prominent women’s rights organisation in Turkey, said in a statement released on Friday.
The platform called on women and egalitarian male MPs to defend women’s hard-fought rights, reminding them that as representatives, it is their constitutional obligation to reject any attempts that may arise in the upcoming parliamentary sessions to undermine women’s rights.
EŞİK raised concerns regarding the ruling bloc’s support for policies that undermine gender equality, citing the case of an MP with multiple wives as an example. They highlighted the imminent threat to the secular legal system and women’s rights, drawing attention to the targeting of laws safeguarding women from violence and the promotion of practices such as polygamy and child marriages.
The platform stressed the intertwined issues of male polygamy and child sexual abuse, pointing out the potential consequences of legitimising early marriages. Additionally, they drew a connection between child marriages and the troubling practice of “taking” daughters from impoverished families and asylum seekers as additional wives, often as second, third, or fourth spouses.
EŞİK has urged MPs to prioritise the preservation of current laws, specifically Law No. 6284, which aims to combat violence against women, instead of dismantling them. This law has faced opposition from the Islamist New Welfare Party (YRP) and the Sunni extremist HÜDA-PAR, both of which gained parliamentary representation on 14 May through the Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) electoral lists.