ISTANBUL (AFP/Middle East Eye) – A prominent Turkish anti-femicide campaign group went on trial on Wednesday accused of activity against law and morals, with several hundred women rallying outside Istanbul’s main court in protest.
Prosecutors had filed a lawsuit in April against We Will Stop Femicide Platform, one of the country’s leading feminist organizations. If convicted, the group could be shut down.
Protesters outside the court waved banners bearing slogans such as “You will never walk alone!” and “We will stop women’s murders”, alongside the families of women murdered by men.
We Will Stop Femicide Platform has been campaigning against the murder and abuse of women since its foundation in 2010.
Group representative Nursen Inal slammed the trial, saying it was politically motivated.
“We believe this court case is an attack against women’s struggle for their rights,” she told AFP.
The hearing adjourned on Wednesday and will resume on October 5.
The association was a vocal critic of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s decision last year to pull Turkey out of the Istanbul Convention, which requires countries to set up laws aimed at preventing and prosecuting violence against women.
We Will Stop Femicide Platform says 160 women have been killed in Turkey this year and 423 in 2021, with many murders committed by family members.
“We are under pressure from the government because we publicize, name by name, each and every woman’s murder,” Inal said.
“This contradicts the government’s thesis which says women’s murder is on the decline.”
In April alone, 24 women were murdered, the group said -- adding that 16 others had died in suspicious circumstances, even though some of these deaths were officially registered as suicide.
Meanwhile, a senior member of Turkey’s main opposition party was freed on Tuesday on the same day she had been jailed following a conviction for insulting President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and other public officials.
The sentence against Canan Kaftancioglu, who leads the Republican People’s Party (CHP) in Istanbul, also banned her from running in next year’s legislative and presidential elections.
On 12 May, the supreme court of appeals confirmed Kaftancioglu’s conviction on three counts, including over an anti-Erdogan tweet.