Uğurlu: Today is the day to stand up for our rights

HDK co-spokesperson, Idil Uğurlu, speaks about the attacks of the AKP/MHP government on the women's rights achievements of the Istanbul Convention, saying: "Today is the day to stand up for our rights.”

Although the Turkish government is the first signatory to the Istanbul Convention, it is not being implemented in Turkey. Instead, it is threatened with annulment. At the same time, male violence against women is increasing significantly. While violent men are repeatedly acquitted, more women are murdered every day. "The state openly legitimises male violence", says the co-spokesperson of the Peoples’ Democratic Congress (HDK) Idil Uğurlu.

Uğurlu points out that the government wants the cancellation of the Istanbul Convention, but has not yet found the courage to take this step; “Therefore, the implementation of article 6284 on the protection of women against violence has been put on hold under the pretext of the pandemic. The AKP has been increasingly setting its eyes on Law 6284. The regime party sees this as a danger to families. Some columnists close to the government even write of "women's terrorism".”

AP is never tired of stressing in this context that the Istanbul Convention is not binding. Uğurlu warns that the government had kept an eye on this convention which it has actually never implemented. She recalls that it is only a few years ago that the government, which today threatens to annul the convention, praised itself by having signed it. At that time, the AKP was more attached to the EU and has since become more monist and masculinised. Uğurlu analyses that the AKP is concerned with shaping society according to a monistic male mentality and warns that women are wantedto be forced into a form that corresponds to the system.

The Istanbul Convention - an international constitution of women

Uğurlu describes the Istanbul Convention as an "international women's constitution" that aims to prevent all forms of violence against women. The convention is vital not only for women in Turkey, but worldwide. It is therefore a treaty that cannot be signed by governments at their discretion and then cancelled, "because the Istanbul Convention is an achievement that women have won with teeth and claw in a long struggle".

The women's struggle is universal

The AKP/MHP regime wants to further institutionalize its monistic ideology and considers the women's struggle as a big obstacle for the enforcement of fascism. "If the Istanbul Convention is implemented, women and LGBTI+ will get air to breathe, just like society. But the regime doesn't want that. The government is based on the maxim that if they subjugate women, they can shape society through women. This is the peak of 5,000 years of patriarchy. But they should know that the women's struggle cannot be so easily eradicated. The women's struggle knows no boundaries, it is not a struggle that states can push where they want it to go. The women's struggle is universal."

Women from Latin America to Rojava strengthen each other

Uğurlu talks about the advanced networking of women's structures and the worldwide, wave-like spread of the protests from Latin America to the Middle East, all the way to Rojava: "The women take each other as an example and strengthen each other. Behind the politics of rape and assault are the states, says Uğurlu, because they try to educate society through women. Women's organisations should also include this in their fight against male violence, she believes.

Targeting those who mount strong resistance

Uğurlu also refers to the continuous arrests and imprisonments of women activists in Turkey and Northern Kurdistan and says that with growing resistance, the repression is also increasing: "Whoever mounts strong resistance, whoever is at the head of this struggle and says 'no' to the monistic attitude, becomes a target of attack. Just as the ISIS attacked Shengal, which raped women and sold them in slave markets in order to intimidate and threaten all women, now, out of the same mentality, they try to question the Istanbul Convention and spread the same feeling of threat by attacking women's organisations.”

Domination by threatening the body of women

Also the increasing attacks of military members against women in Northern Kurdistan are part of this policy, states Uğurlu and remarks that this is the way to gain control over the women's body. She sharply condemns the current discussions about the cancellation of the Istanbul Convention and blames them for the increase of feminicide and attacks. The number of sexual assaults on children increased when the law on de facto amnesty for child abuse dominated the discussion. According to the bill, offenders who marry their underage victims are to go unpunished. Uğurlu says it is absolutely unacceptable that such plans are repeatedly brought up for discussion despite all the protests in order to strengthen the power of men.

Women will continue to confront the one-man regime

Uğurlu makes it clear that: “With this policy, the AKP wants to homogenize society and silence it. The country is wanted to be brought into a religiously fundamentalist, male-dominated form through anti-democratic practices, political discourses that promote violence and are hostile to women, and through one-sided news.”

Uğurlu announces that women will continue to resist this, however, and says that the HDK is informing society and especially women about Article 6284 with brochures and that women are opposing the euthanasia tactics with government series and one-sided news. She closes with the words: "Today is not the day of silence, it is the day to stand up for rights".