[The following statement was released by the Istanbul Feminist Collective on 4 March 2014. It has been edited slightly for stylistic purposes.]
We are, as the women who live in Turkey, raising our voices on the streets for eleven years, calling out against patriarchy, against men`s violence, sexism, heterosexism, capitalism, militarism, and war, at the night marches of 8th of March.
Since the last 8th of March, it has been a year of increasing violence against women.
Every day, we reading about another femicide in the news. Every day three women are killed in Turkey. The murderers and the rapists receive no punishment. The state is not trying to stop the violence against women, but is trying to stop divorces.
The AKP (Justice and Development Party), which is the government, the legislative, and the juridical power at the same time, has taken our right of abortion. We are sent away from the doors of the public hospitals. It limited our ability to reach the contraceptive methods. The government doesn`t hesitate to step forward in order to control women`s bodies. They are preparing laws that are going to condemn us to a flexible and insecure work life. Women`s shelters and information centers in Turkey are only symbolic in number and are insufficient. Removing the Ministry of Women, the government formed the Ministry of Family and Social Policy. This new Ministry turns womens’s shelters and information centers into places that protect the family and force women to be obliged to the family.
We, as the women who were on the streets in the Gezi Resistance, challenged the sexist policies of the state. We were directly confronted by the violence and sexual harassment of the police while resisting.
This was not the first time, though. Women faced police violence on the 8th of March celebrations of 2005 in Beyazıt. The Turkish state has been condemned by the European Court of Human Rights because of that police violence in 2005.
Taksim—where we as women in Istanbul go on resisting and existing in spite of the police violence and all the obstacles, repeating that “we are not leaving these streets and nights,"—is now under police blockade. On these streets, where we have been calling out to the world for women’s freedom for eleven years, we are now faced with the threat of the police violence, harrasment, and tear gas for the upcoming 8th of March.
The oppression is increasing, but we don`t give up resisting and revolting against patriarchy! As we have been for the last eleven years, we are going to be in Taksim on the 8th of March for our night march.
The AKP government, which is attacking all aspects of our lives, is also trying to take the streets that we walk on. But despite all of the prohibitions, we are meeting in Taksim and lifting our voice.
We are calling on women from all around the world, to call out for the freedom of women, to call out against the possible police violence and for solidarity, even though they cannot be with us in Taksim. We are going to pass the police barricades in Taksim together.
Let the father come. Let the husband come. Let the police come. Let the nightstick come!
Deliberately to revolt! Deliberately to revolt! Deliberately freedom!
Istanbul Feminist Collective
What you can do to support us:
- You can take photos of solidarity and send them to us (including the message you want to give): email@example.com
- You can fax, e-mail, or tweet to related institutions telling your concerns about the possible police violence in Taksim on the 8th of March signed by your organization name to:
+90 212 512 20 86, firstname.lastname@example.org, https://twitter.com/Valimutlu, https://twitter.com/istanbulvilayet
Ministry of Internal Affairs:
+90 312 418 12 60, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com
Prime Minister`s Office:
+90 312 420 66 04,+90 0312 422 18 99 or +90 0312422 26 67, firstname.lastname@example.org
- You can write your own press statement and announce it to the press in your city/country.
- You can support us sending tweets: İFK feministler @ifkfeminist (our hashtag for the march is #feministgeceyuruyusu).
Here is a short video featuring scenes from feminist night marches between 2003-2013: