Gökkan says rape is part of the government's war policy

TJA spokeswoman Ayşe Gökkan said that the cities of Kurdistan are going through a war period and added that the harassment and rape incidents are part of a concept of war waged by the state.

According to the data shared by women's organizations in Turkey harassment against women, rape and murder are increasing by the day.

Despite all this, the AKP government wants to withdraw from the Istanbul Convention. There are differences between women harassers in Turkey metropolis and Kurdistan. Most time in Kurdistan harassers and rapists are soldiers, police and village guards. In the last case in Batman, 18-year-old Ipek Er was raped by sergeant Musa Orhan. Ipek Er later committed suicide because of this unbearable violence.

TJA spokeswoman Ayşe Gökkan made important evaluations regarding harassment, rape and violence against women.

She said that the cities of Kurdistan are going through a war period and added that the harassment and rape incidents are part of a concept of war waged by the state. "All racist and nation-states – said Gökkan - are attacking women first. We have seen what happened in Rwanda, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Dersim.”

Gökkan added: “Attacks against women are constantly denied by the state. For example, in 1993 in Derik, Mardin, a woman named Ş.A. was raped in Derik Police Station and 400 soldiers were sued. At that time, the commander of the station was Musa Çitil, who was among the rapists. The state protected its soldiers and in 2013 named Musa Çitil a commander in Amed. The state sends the people it has specially trained to Kurdistan in a planned way."

Gökkan reminded that the perpetrators of rape in Kurdistan went unpunished in the 1990s. Adding that the AKP government uses religion as a tool, Gökkan continued: "The AKP keeps itself alive in the society with this method. For example, it says consuming alcohol is a sin and prohibits it, but all the perpetrators of rape defend themselves saying they were drunk. This is something we see daily in Kurdistan. The government says to women, ‘You will either live like a slave in your house, or if you do not accept this, you will be exposed to violence, harassment and rape.’ We say: If alcohol is forbidden and a sin for you, why are you sending all your drunk soldiers to Kurdistan? This is a strategy against Kurdish women. Erdoğan had said it clear: 'Shoot them, whether they are women, old people or children'. We remember his words well. During the self-government resistance, racists were writing against Kurdish women on the walls. Were they drunk too? This mentality is the ISIS mentality. The mentality of AKP and ISIS are the same. When ISIS mercenaries attacked the lands of Kurdistan and the Middle East, they first targeted women. AKP attacks the Kurds with this mentality.”

Gökkan added: “Just as ISIS poses a danger and risk to the whole world, the AKP poses the same danger. An inter-state coalition must be formed against this dangerous mentality. Turkey is attacking everywhere like ISIS does. It attacks women and neighbouring countries. I call upon all states: women in Turkey are being killed. We can no longer find words to describe this savagery."

Noting that the people living in Turkey is in danger Gökkan said: "Women want to be protected within the framework of the many laws in place. But this does not happen. However, it would be very easy. The Istanbul Convention should be applied. What is the Istanbul Convention? It is a convention by the Council of Europe to combat violence against women and for the prevention of violence and domestic violence. This convention was signed on May 11, 2011 as a result of women's struggle and pressure. The convention was supposedly implemented in 2014, but remained only on paper. Signed only to enter the EU. The AKP government now wants to withdraw from the convention. The convention has 2 important points. The first is to prevent violence, the second is to protect those who are exposed to violence. These two points are very important. The state is responsible for today's violence."

Stating that if the Istanbul Convention is implemented, they will not need to demand justice every day, Gökkan said: "All mechanisms for women should come into play. This is the solution. Women should benefit from all rights. The state should take steps to empower women's institutions. Every segment of society, from judges to prosecutors, from police to soldiers, needs to be trained on this issue. Women in Turkey want the implementation of the Istanbul Convention. According to the articles of the convention, femicide and suicides should be investigated by a team of experts. These teams should have easy access to information from police stations, hospitals, forensic medicine and prosecution. They should also be able to investigate violence against women in state institutions. This situation includes not only physical violence but also psychological and economic violence."