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Women in Turkey ‘weaving networks of solidarity’ as gender-based violence rises

WOMEN in Turkey are building a network of solidarity and resistance in a bid to “stay alive,” warning that the risk of violence has been increased by allowing abusers to return home under coronavirus measures.

At least 21 women have been murdered in just 20 days, 18 of them in their own homes.

Rights groups have said that a decision by the Council of Judges and Prosecutors (HSK) on March 20 undermines Law 6284, which is aimed at “protecting women and the family from violence.”

They say that the protection of women must be taken into consideration during the crisis, warning that in reality policy now means: “Let violent men return to their homes.”

As reported in the Morning Star, women’s shelters are in crisis, with many across Turkey forced to close their doors despite rising gender-based violence.

Women’s Defence Network spokeswoman Buse Ucer said that “women feel the threat of being killed,” but added: “We will not despair.”

She said that the network had been contacted by many women, including large numbers of nurses and health workers, during the crisis.

Interior minister Suleyman Soylu acknowledged that 73 percent of women murdered last year were killed in their own homes.

But the group lamented the lack of funding and support for women’s shelters, with a lack of capacity meaning that women have nowhere to turn to if they experience violence in the home.

“Women cannot live on the streets,” Ms Ucer said.

“When we say ‘we want to live,’ we actually want all the beauties of life. We demand our right to be protected from violence,” she insisted.

“We want the [anti-violence] Istanbul Convention and Law 6284 to be implemented. 

“And we urgently want the hotline for violence against women to be operated 24/7. We want transparent information about shelters.”

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