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Turkey waging ‘political femicide’ against leading women politicians, HDP warns

TURKEY is waging political femicide against women politicians, the opposition Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) charged today after a new report highlighted systematic attacks on female representatives.

There are 102 women sitting as lawmakers in the 600-seat grand assembly, 26 of them from the HDP. 

The exclusion of women’s issues is entrenched by the “sexist” male-dominated power structures of the assembly, said Dilan Dirayet Tasdemir, the HDP MP for Agri, ahead of next week’s International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women.

Men even lead the debates on women’s equality in the chamber, with politics seen as “men’s work,” Ms Tasdemir said. This means that issues such as gender-based violence are excluded from the political agenda.

“When we look at the parliamentary arithmetic, there is no equal participation. Half of the society is women, but when we look at the assembly, 102 of the 600 deputies are women. 

“This ratio corresponds to one in six. Women have difficulties in developing independent politics, prioritising women’s agendas, and making politics in line with their demands,” she said.

More concerning, she said, are the political attacks on leading women politicians, with the Women in Politics 2020 report highlighting that 521 investigations were launched against 23 elected female politicians – 22 of them from the HDP and the other from its municipal sister-party, the Democratic Regions Party (DBP).

Authoritarian President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has been accused of being afraid of free women, believing that they should be excluded from political life and should stick to the domestic sphere.

The Turkish state has also banned the HDP co-chair system, which allows for gender equality at all levels of the party, branding it a terrorist act. 

According to Erdogan the male politicians are legitimate, but he insists, without evidence, that the women have been appointed to their posts by the banned Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

Earlier this week Turkish prosecutors sought a jail sentence of over 30 years for former HDP MP Leyla Guven, on trumped-up terrorism charges.

Ms Guven is seen by many as the embodiment of Kurdish women and the face of the resistance to the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP).

The crisis of women’s representation in parliament has led to the government proposing withdrawal from the Istanbul Convention – a Council of Europe treaty opposing violence against women – which has led to widespread demonstrations from women’s organisations across the country.

Many are preparing demonstrations on November 25 to counter rising femicide in Turkey and highlight that the male-dominated state protects the perpetrators of rape, violence and murder.

In a joint action the Communist Party of Britain and Kurdistan Solidarity Campaign are organising a “chain of solidarity” with women in Turkey alongside the Ankara Women’s Platform.

They are calling on trade unionists and progressives to record short video messages or send photographs of solidarity for social media.

Encourage your MP to sign this Early Day Motion (https://edm.parliament.uk/early-day-motion/57684/increase-in-violence-ag...) opposing the rising violence against women in Turkey.

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