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Turkish police prevent demonstrations by women’s groups, detain dozens of protestors

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Dozens of women who gathered in various Turkish provinces on the occasion of the International Day of Solidarity and Elimination of Violence against Women, marked on November 25, have been detained, while marches were blocked by the police in a number of cities, the Stockholm Center for Freedom reported, citing local media.

As part of the International Day of Solidarity and Elimination of Violence against Women on Friday, some 25 women who were marching in Turkey’s eastern provinces of Şırnak, Ağrı and Van were detained, including the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) provincial and district presidents and elderly members of the Saturday Mothers.

The Saturday Mothers is a group of activists and family members seeking the whereabouts of loved ones who disappeared while in police custody in Turkey in the 1990s.

The governor’s office of İstanbul’s Beyoğlu district announced on Thursday that no activities or events would be allowed on Friday, citing calls to action on some social media accounts. Police surrounded the entire square in Taksim with barricades and deployed anti-riot cannon vehicles in the area.

Women who wanted to march in Turkey’s eastern province of Mardin on November 25 were blocked by police and prohibited from proceeding.

The United Nations had earlier called on women’s organizations to join 16 days of activism led by the UN secretary-general and UN Women since 2008. According to a UN statement, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women will mark the launch of the UNiTE campaign (November 25- December 10) — an initiative of 16 days of activism concluding on International Human Rights Day (December 10).

Members of the İstanbul-based 25 November Women’s Platform said they do not recognize the ban. “Our march, which will start from Taksim on November 25, the Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, as it does every year, was banned by a decision of the district governor,” they said.

The platform also said, “We do not want permission, we want a life without violence,” and invited other women’s rights groups and individuals to Taksim Square on the 25th.


Femicides and violence against women are serious problems in Turkey, where women are killed, raped or beaten every day. Many critics say the main reason for the situation is the policies of the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government, which protects violent and abusive men by granting them impunity.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan sparked outrage in Turkey and the international community after he issued a decree in March 2021 that pulled the country out of an international treaty that requires governments to adopt legislation prosecuting perpetrators of domestic violence and similar abuse as well as marital rape and female genital mutilation.

The Council of Europe Convention on Preventing and Combating Violence against Women and Domestic Violence, better known as the İstanbul Convention, is an international accord designed to protect women’s rights and prevent domestic violence in societies and was opened to signature of member countries of the Council of Europe in 2011.

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