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Women call for networks of solidarity in their struggle against Turkish state violence

WOMEN will take to the streets across Turkey on Monday in a firm stand against “patriarchal state violence,” with jailed political leaders calling for international networks of solidarity to be built.

Former Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) co-chair Figen Yuksekdag sent her “heartfelt and passionate greetings and love” to all of those protesting against war, discrimination and violence.

Ms Yuksekdag, founder of the Socialist Party of the Oppressed (ESP), has been in jail since November 2016 and faces the rest of her life behind bars on trumped-up terrorism charges.

She is seen as a threat to the Turkish state because, as an ethnic Turk, she represents a bridge between the Turkish and Kurdish communities, whose unity is feared by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

“May all the hopes, resistances, rebellions, efforts and joys of the women of this world unite for a nicer, fairer and free life for all women and humanity — without violence and exploitation,” she said.

Her counterpart, former HDP MP Leyla Guven — who was jailed for 23 years and three months on similar charges last December — said that women across the world were “on the way to reclaiming the rights that have been taken away from us.”

“The liberation of women is the liberation of society,” the Kurdish politician said, reminding women that those on the streets today were the representatives of the women in prison, including those on hunger strike.

Another former HDP MP and founder of the Rosa Women’s Association, Ayla Akat Ata said: “Our voices from prison will join yours in the streets,” adding that she will “dance with the women in Sican prison [in Ankara] for all those who join the rallies.”

The Rosa Women’s Organisation was one of the many targeted in state operations last year, with 83 women placed under investigation. 

Women in Turkey face serious oppression, amid warnings that, with a rise in femicide last year, the country is becoming “a slaughterhouse.”  

Protesters have opposed Turkey’s plans to withdraw from the Istanbul Convention, which obliges signatories to tackle gender-based crime, provide protection and services for women and ensure that perpetrators are prosecuted.

But those taking to the streets have been met with police violence and many have been detained. Women have called for their counterparts across the world to join them in networks of solidarity to unite the struggle.

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