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284 women killed in Turkey in domestic violence in 2020

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At least 284 women were killed in Turkey at the hands of men in 2020, according to a parliamentary question submitted by an opposition deputy in the Turkish Parliament.

The parliamentary question submitted by Semra Güzel, a deputy from the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democracy Party (HDP), concerns the shortcomings of the mobile phone app KADES, the Women’s Emergency Assistance Notification System, developed by the Ministry of Family, Labor and Social Services in 2018 to prevent acts of violence against women.

Güzel said violence against women had increased significantly in 2020, noting that 48 out of the 284 women were killed at home, while one out of every five of them was murdered because they wanted a divorce.

“This picture shows the need for more effective policies against domestic violence,” said Güzel.

In the parliamentary question, the deputy said only 620,892 women have downloaded the KADES app so far according to data from the ministry, which she said was a small number considering the widespread cases of domestic violence in the country. The deputy explained that the application is useless for women who don’t have smartphones or Internet access or who are illiterate.

Güzel in her inquiry asked the number of women who reported violence to the police by using the KADES app in the past three years; in how many of the cases the perpetrators of violence were subjected to legal action and removed from the home; if some notices made through KADES are neglected or given little attention by the police; if law enforcement is offered training on the KADES app; and whether the ministry plans to take any measures to promote the use of the application and make it accessible to women without smart phones or Internet access.

Women’s rights organizations have for years been trying to raise awareness about the increase in violence against women that has taken place in the last decade.

Many think it is linked to the policies and rhetoric of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), which has its roots in political Islam.

AKP leader and President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has long been accused by critics of seeking to erode the country’s secular principles and limit the civil liberties of women.

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