A report released by an opposition lawmaker on the occasion of International Women’s Day shows an upward trend in cases of domestic violence in Turkey during the 19-year rule of the Justice and Development Party (AKP), which has witnessed the killing of 7,071 women by men so far, local media reported on Monday.
According to the report, titled “Women’s Rights Violations in Turkey,” from main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) lawmaker Sezgin Tanrıkulu, who is also a human rights activist, a total of 7,071 women were killed by men in the 19 years between 2002 and 2021.
Tanrıkulu’s report further shows that 339 women were killed by men, 213 women -– including transgender individuals –- died suspicious deaths and 793 women were subjected to violence by men in Turkey in 2021.
Revealing that 165 more died in work-related accidents in 2021, the report added that only 17 percent of women in Turkey are documented workers with full-time jobs and that at least 98 percent of them are not labor union members.
Tanrıkulu also stated that President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on July 1, 2021 officially withdrew Turkey from the Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence, better known as the Istanbul Convention, despite public outrage, while failing to effectively enforce Law No. 6284 on the Protection of Family and Prevention of Violence against Women.
Referring to a 2021 report titled “Turkey, Turn Words into Actions” by Amnesty International, the opposition deputy listed urgent steps needed to be taken to prevent violence against women in Turkey.
Turkey’s Interior Ministry must ensure women and women’s rights groups can exercise their right to peaceful protest and prosecute law enforcement officers who have been found to have used excessive force against peaceful assemblies, Tanrıkulu said.
He added that the Justice Ministry must end criminal investigations and prosecutions of women and LGBTI+ people for exercising their right to peaceful assembly to claim their rights.
Turkish authorities must ensure women and girls can promptly access the protection and support services they need, Tanrıkulu said, adding that they must ensure women have access to a 24/7 helpline specifically dedicated and equipped to respond to calls about violence against women.
“Increase shelter capacity and ensure adequate geographical distribution of shelters across Turkey. Further, ensure all women facing or risking violence can access shelters regardless of their age, the age of their children, their immigration status, or any disabilities,” the MP said, referring to the Amnesty report.