Families of murdered women defend anti-femicide group in Turkey court

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The families of women who were murdered by men demonstrated on Wednesday in defense of an anti-feminist campaign group from Turkey accused of acting against the law and morality.

Prosecutors had filed a lawsuit in April against We Will Stop Femicide Platform, one of the largest feminist organizations in the country. If convicted, he could be fired.

The group has been campaigning against the murder and abuse of women since they were founded in 2010.

Protesters gathered with the families of the murdered women outside Istanbul’s main court before the third hearing in the case, unfurling a large banner: “The platform will not stop. The murders of women will stop”.

“We will defend the rights of everyone whose life has been stolen in this country. And those days are near,” the group’s representative Gulsum Kav told reporters.

The We will Stop Femicide Platform was established a year after the high-profile murder case of 18-year-old Munevver Karabulut, whose body was dumped into a waste container in Istanbul.

The gruesome murder sparked widespread outrage and outrage, especially when the suspect managed to evade justice for more than six months.

In the early days the platform only focused on femicide trials, but now they track all forms of violence against women as well as LGBTQ individuals and children.

The group says 69 women have been killed in Turkey since January this year, after 397 last year and 427 in 2021.

Figen Yetiskin, a mother whose daughter was killed, said the platform supported her in more than a dozen court hearings and provided legal assistance, including hiring a lawyer.

“They have always stood with me in court. Unlike their shutdown, I believe that the platform should be strengthened and more supported,” she told the court.

“They taught me that I am a woman and I have rights, they supported me in 16 hearings to arrest my daughter’s murderer,” she said.

“They walked together with me and I will walk together with them forever”.

– ‘Our voice is heard’ –

Saadet Irem Karlidag told the court that the platform gave her family enormous support in exposing her aunt’s murder.

“My aunt was killed in broad daylight before our eyes. We could hear our voice thanks to the We Will Stop Femicide Platform,” she said.

“They did not leave us alone. And today I stand with them. I believe that this situation is illegal.”

The judge adjourned the hearing on Wednesday and it will resume on September 13.

The association has been a vocal critic of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s decision in 2021 to pull Turkey out of the Istanbul Convention, which requires countries to establish laws aimed at preventing and prosecuting violence against women.

Social conservatives in Turkey say the convention promotes homosexuality and threatens traditional family values.

“This case is aimed at civil society, and it will have a big impact on human rights defenders as well as LGBTQ advocates,” Polat Yamaner, a lawyer for the Turkish Human Rights Foundation, told the court.

“If this unjust case is dropped, I will feel like a lawyer again on this symbolic day,” said another lawyer, Nazan Moroglu, referring to Turkey’s April 5 marking of Lawyers’ Day, in comments that drew applause from the audience. .

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