Court rejects lawsuit to close the ‘We Will Stop Femicide Platform’

The lawsuit to close the ‘We Will Stop Femicide Platform’ was rejected by an Istanbul court on Wednesday.

A closure case was filed against the ‘We Will Stop Femicides Platform’ (tr. (Kadın Cinayetlerini Durduracağız Platformu, KCDP) in April 2022 for allegedly 'acting against the laws and morality'. The judicial authorities claim that various complaint petitions against the association have created strong criminal suspicion. The complaint petitions in question, which are based on no concrete facts, claim that our association attempts to disintegrate the family structure. Moreover, a series of police records were added to the file, including investigations that did not even turn into a lawsuit and did not constitute a crime.

During the fourth hearing in the lawsuit held in Istanbul on Wednesday, the court dismissed the case against the platform, which was founded in Istanbul in 2010 by family members of femicide victims and women from various parties and other organisations.

The trial in the Çağlayan Courthouse was observed by many people, including members of parliament from the Green Left Party and the Labour Party (EMEP), CHP Istanbul chairperson Canan Kaftancıoğlu, members of KESK (Confederation of Public Employees' Unions) Women’s Assembly, Women’s Platform for Equality (EŞİK), Free Women’s Movement (TJA), Saturday Mothers, representatives of the Swedish and Dutch consulates and PEN. As the courtroom was full, many people were not allowed to enter.

The trial was attended by attorney Polat Yomaner from the Human Rights Foundation, attorneys from the Freedom of Expression Association, Istanbul Bar Association, and the Turkish Bar Association Women's Rights Center, as well as the relatives of women who lost their lives due to male violence.

Several women whose sisters or daughters were murdered testified at the hearing and described the ways in which the KCDP supported them. The association does public relations work against feminicide and regularly publishes statistics and background information on feminicide in Turkey. Women affected by violence are accompanied during trials, and at the same time their safety is ensured. The platform also acts as a joint plaintiff and accompanies relatives of murdered women. The aim is to change the way the courts think in the interest of women and thus to create precedents. The Platform was also very present in the fight for the preservation of the Istanbul Convention, which was annulled by presidential decree in 2021.

Tuğba Can, one of the KCDP witnesses, said in court: "I lost my twin sister to male violence this year. They said 'you will never go alone' and I never went alone. Instead of closing the platform, it should be supported."

Nuray Çalayır, whose daughter was murdered by her divorced husband in 2013, said, "No one called or asked me in Akhisar. I came across the association on the internet and wrote to them. The support I received from KCDP kept me going."

Bahar Genç said the platform had shown great solidarity with her, adding, "I want all the murderers out there to be arrested. The association must not be closed down."

Nursel Uyar, whose daughter Fatma Duygu Özkan was murdered, stated in her testimony: "My family and I are financially and emotionally exhausted. We had heard about KCDP and met them in Istanbul. They even accompanied us to the funeral. We cannot see that there is anyone left to stand up for our rights and protect them. We don't want the platform to be closed and we offer our support until the end."

Melek Yakupoğlu, whose daughter was a victim of violence, said, "Thanks to the platform, my daughter's killer was arrested. I thank the platform for standing by me. I feel strong and safe through such platforms. We are not helpless against men who see us helpless. I definitely don't want the platform to be closed."

Koray Şengül, the son of murdered Fatma Şengül, said, "My mother's murderer had received a reduced sentence, but thanks to the platform, he received a life sentence. The platform has given us a voice."

After the verdict was pronounced, the women gathered in front of the court building amidst applause and chants and made a statement, chanting the slogans "Jin Jiyan Azadî" (Woman, Life, Freedom), "You will never walk alone" and "We will stop femicides".

Fidan Ataselim, General Secretary of the KCDP, said: "As we have always said, we will not give up our rights, our organisation and our struggle. The court decision has come out as it should be. Our responsibility is great. Let them attack us with all their might. We will continue to be present in courtrooms and squares."