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August 13. Is Turkey leav­ing the Istan­bul Con­ven­tion? Or not? We await the deci­sion that had been announced for today.

See­ing all these women of every age and every con­di­tion fill­ing the streets and squares in order to protest, see­ing the police beat­ing on this massed force, howl­ing, hit­ting, drag­ging by the hair, arrest­ing, while read­ing and lis­ten­ing to the warn­ings of the ones, and the dec­la­ra­tions and insuf­fer­able speech­es of the oth­ers drip­ping with sex­ism and con­tempt, I reel from anger to laugh­ter, from enthu­si­asm to despair.

On the whole, the women are say­ing “it will take more than this to beat us down and kill us”, and the oth­ers answer “oh yessss!“

I also love this: on the one hand, Poland is point­ed out for x rea­sons for its fascis­tic and reac­tionary lead­ers hav­ing quit the con­ven­tion , and on the oth­er hand Poland is pre­sent­ed as an exam­ple…“You see, even Poland has done it; and yet, it’s a Euro­pean coun­try.“

Still, there is some­thing his­toric going on! I have the feel­ing that our Reis has made a big mis­take in his career. Bow­ing to the pres­sures from the most big­ot­ted and fun­da­men­tal­ist reli­gious “broth­er­hoods”, not only has he caused divi­sions with­in his own camp, but he has also pushed women on every side to assem­ble under a com­mon denom­i­na­tor. To think I would find myself some day on the same ranks as women who sup­port the Reis and who usu­al­ly sup­port him and spread his ide­ol­o­gy about women for whom the fore­most aim must be motherhood…I would nev­er have thought to live to see such a day!

And you have mad dog politi­cians and oth­ers who call them­selves jour­nal­ists, ana­lysts, spe­cial­ist who glad­ly go so far as to call women who strug­gle “pros­ti­tutes”. Com­bin­ing incom­pre­hen­sion and bad faith, they take issue with the prin­ci­ple accord­ing to which “the wom­en’s dec­la­ra­tion must always be giv­en pri­mor­dial con­sid­er­a­tion” as if through this prin­ci­ple com­ing from a wom­en’s mouth a man would auto­mat­i­cal­ly be con­demned with­out due process. Yet, this prin­ci­ple is use­ful rather when tak­ing into account com­plaints lodged by women and mak­ing their record­ing manda­to­ry. Also very use­ful, when one knows that, in fact, very few women dare approach secu­ri­ty and judi­cial author­i­ties where they are met with “well-mean­ing” advice sug­gest­ing that they “go home”, that they “resolve the issue with­in the fam­i­ly” and – no doubt influ­enced by what they expe­ri­ence in their own home, spec­i­fy that “the hus­band can hit as well as he can caress”

With this prin­ci­ple, men would be wronged. Con­cern is expressed for those who are hit by their wives. I won­der how many such cas­es exist in this edi­fy­ing era of fem­i­ni­cides and vio­lence. There is con­cern for men in Turkey against which jeal­ous women, filled with the desire to be harm­ful, would make false dec­la­ra­tions. Appar­ent­ly, woman is the dev­il incar­nate! There is talk of men made des­ti­tute by a life­time of indem­ni­ties. This is not even men­tioned in the con­ven­tion. In short, there is much con­cern for the men. A top­sy-turvy world.

These hairy men also wax indig­nant over para­gaph f of arti­cle 3 in the con­ven­tion which states that “the word ‘woman’ includes girls of less than 18 years”. This would be con­trary to our cul­ture! Yet, the same ones declare in their ser­mons and fat­was, and even through the mouth of the Diyanet, (“reli­gious affairs” being wor­thy of a min­istry) that girls can be mar­ried start­ing at 9 years of age! You have to make up your mind. Frankly, they seem to be made out of teflon, noth­ing sticks, one day they say white, the next day they say black, they wear reversible suits and go with what­ev­er is con­ve­nient.

Obvi­ous­ly, this con­cen­tion does not intend to “harm the integri­ty of the fam­i­ly” as claimed by its oppo­nents. Speak­ing of the “fam­i­ly” which is sup­pos­ed­ly “sacred” I ask you of what sanc­ti­fi­ca­tion we can speak when a fam­i­ly con­tains vio­lence in its midst? Is it pos­si­ble to main­tain “the integri­ty of the fam­i­ly” by mak­ing the men­tion of this vio­lence tabu, by let­ting it grow and spread, and by aban­don­ing the vic­tims in a patri­ar­chal and macho sys­tem, on the altar of phys­i­cal, sex­u­al, psy­cho­log­i­cal, eco­nom­ic vio­lence?

Obvi­ous­ly the State has the respon­si­bil­i­ty and the duty to stop the vio­lence, to pro­tect its vic­tims, what­ev­er their gen­der, and to pun­ish the authors.

The fact that the Istan­bul Con­ven­tion for the pro­tec­tion of women deletes the oblig­a­tion of mar­riage and speaks of the “shar­ing of the same home” is inter­pret­ed as “out­side our tra­di­tions and cul­ture”. This is under­stand­able from the pro-Reis sup­port­ers con­sid­er­ing their big­ot­ted social vision… The text which insists on numer­ous occa­sions on man-woman equal­i­ty and speaks in par­tic­u­lar of social gen­der­ing, a first in Turkey, has many offend­ed who do not con­sid­er women as per­sons, and even less of dif­fer­ent gen­ders. Thus, the mor­tal fear: “They are going to trans­form our Nation into homos and trans”. As if Turkey respect­ed the very let­ter of every treaty it has signed and as if this one impos­es homo­sex­u­al­i­ty on het­ero­sex­u­als, because their State has rat­i­fied it. What hog­wash!

There are those who say “The major­i­ty of Turks do not want this con­ven­tion”. Yet a sur­vey done in August 2020 reveals that 63,6 per­cent of soci­ety wish­es that Turkey main­tain its place in it. There are those who say “men are con­demned unjust­ly”. No, men are the ones who think they have the right to exer­cise vio­lence, who think they are pun­ished unjust­ly when they do so. That is not quite the same thing… Ah, there are also those who howl “this con­ven­tion was pre­pared by ene­my out­side forces”. Ah! Those ene­mies from the out­side that keep crop­ping up! Yet, the Istan­bul Con­ven­tion is a treaty ema­nat­ing from the Euro­pean Coun­cil, of which Turkey is a found­ing mem­ber. Turkey was ini­tia­tor and first sig­na­toree of this text which was pre­pared coop­er­a­tive­ly by all civil­ian orga­ni­za­tions work­ing in the field of wom­en’s rights in Turkey, and mon­i­tored by Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu in per­son, a found­ing mem­ber of the AKP, deputy and min­is­ter dur­ing the peri­od of its elaboration…True, we were being sold on entry into Europe, in those days.

In fact, the Istan­bul Con­ven­tion sim­ply pro­vides a legal frame­whork so that the sig­na­toree States may imple­ment ade­quate mea­sures. Thus, in and of itself, it does not solve prob­lems of vio­lence. Obvi­ous­ly, such mea­sures and pro­vi­sions are large­ly insuf­fi­cient in Turkey. With­draw­ing from this con­ven­tion would strong­ly influ­ence social dynam­ics and pro­voke the total dis­in­te­gra­tion of an already shaky equi­lib­ri­um, throw­ing into the bal­ance the rein­force­ment of a cer­tain con­ser­v­a­tive major­i­ty… that votes.

This is why women are rush­ing onto pub­lic squares these days in many towns in Turkey, in order to say “We are not afraid. We will not be silent. We will pro­tect our gains.”

Update of August 13, in the evening…

In a speech on 13 August, the Reis sig­nalled the gov­ern­men­t’s inten­tion to with­draw from the Istan­bul Con­ven­tion. He said, “an under­stand­ing, reg­u­la­tion or ide­ol­o­gy that places dyna­mite on the foun­da­tion of the fam­i­ly is not legit­i­mate,” and then added, “Turkey must draft such treaties itself, rather than using ‘trans­lat­ed texts’.”

Well, I have no more saliva…

He did not fail to crit­i­cise pro-gov­ern­ment Islamist colum­nist Abdur­rah­man Dili­pak — with­out men­tion­ing his name — in his arti­cle enti­tled “The AKP daisies” pub­lished in late July in Yeni Akit, in which the author describes women fight­ing for their rights as “pros­ti­tutes”.

We are reassured.

Our offend­ed Reis, spec­i­fies that “the AKP will nev­er remain silent in the face of such ‘irrev­er­ence’ tar­get­ing the women of the par­ty” and claims “In the name of all my (my?) female branch­es and all women, I con­demn these colum­nists who use an insult that I refrain from say­ing and who describe the women of the AKP as ‘daisies’…”.
Yet an AKP min­is­ter, who said worse than ‘daisy’, The Turk­ish woman is the dec­o­ra­tion of her house

Ankara, on August 12…

Izmir, a few days ago…

Translation by Renée Lucie Bourges 
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