The İstanbul Governor’s Office has announced that no demonstrations or marches will be allowed to mark International Women’s Day in İstanbul’s Taksim neighborhood on March 8, Turkish media outlets reported.
Thousands of protesters have been marching along İstiklal Street in Taksim on the night of March 8 since 2003 to denounce violence against women in Turkey, where at least 280 women were killed last year, and demand equal rights for women. The “Feminist Night March” has witnessed confrontations between protestors and police in past years as the police wanted to prevent the protestors from holding the march.
The İstanbul police briefly detained 17 protestors who took part in the women’s day march in Taksim last year on the grounds that they insulted President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan with the slogans they chanted.
Despite facing similar bans from the governor’s office in the past, the organizers held the march and said they will go ahead with their plan this year as well.
“Despite all obstacles every year, we will take part in the Feminist Night March to stand up for our rights, lives, existence, equality and our labor. We have walked for 19 years and will do so in the 20th,” according to a Twitter account that posts announcements and news about the march.
Her yıl tüm engellere rağmen 8 Mart’ta haklarımıza, hayatlarımıza, var oluşumuza, eşitliğe, emeğimize sahip çıkmak için feminist gece yürüyüşündeyiz. 19 yıldır yürüdük, 20. yılda da yürüyeceğiz. pic.twitter.com/xAB1xRAYPg
— 8 Mart Feminist Gece Yürüyüşü (@8MartYuruyus) March 7, 2022
Women’s rights organizations have for years been trying to raise awareness about the rise in violence against women that has taken place in the last 20 years. Femicides and violence against women are serious problems in Turkey, where women are killed, raped or beaten every day. Many critics say the main reason behind the situation is the policies of the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government, which protects violent and abusive men by granting them impunity.
In a move that led to a national and international outrage, AKP leader and President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan signed a presidential decree in March 2021 that pulled the country out of the Istanbul Convention, an international treaty, which requires governments to adopt legislation prosecuting perpetrators of domestic violence and similar abuse as well as marital rape and female genital mutilation.
A survey conducted by Metropoll revealed last year that 52.3 percent of Turks were against the withdrawal from the convention. While more than a majority of participants opposed it, 26.7 percent approved and 10.2 percent had no opinion.