Monday, March 29, 2021

Erdogan Vs Women: Turkish communists on the front line of the struggle for women's rights

In the early hours of March 20, Turkey's government issued a decree deciding to pull out of the Istanbul Convention to combat the violence against women. Although the AKP government was giving signs of this decision earlier and peaked the debate in August 2020, by lobbying against the Convention, the decree came as a sudden decision after midnight and sparked tension.

Hundreds of women took to the streets on Saturday afternoon, declaring the decision as an attack of the AKP government against the health and lives of the women in Turkey. Several protests were organized in different cities of the country. While Erdogan's cabinet and pro-AKP circles celebrated the decision, the progressive organizations and opposition groups condemned the decision.

The Communist Women from the Communist Party of Turkey (TKP) also called for meetings to protest the decision in 17 different cities across the country. The Communist Women declared that the women will stop this attack in the protests and made a press statement.

The full statement is as follows:
The women will stop this attack!

The anti-women actions of the AKP, which resort to decrees, various games, and hollow challenges in every crush it goes through, never end! This time, AKP withdrew from the Istanbul Convention, which it has been talking about for months, with a midnight decree!

Although it is not sufficient for the struggle to end social inequalities and violence against women, the Istanbul Convention obliges the states to protect individuals from gender-based violence and to speed up judicial processes. This is why AKP is attacking the Istanbul Convention! While law enforcement officers were sending back the women who were subjected to violence to their homes, while the courts applied "good behavior" discounts to the perpetrators of violence against women and hundreds of women were killed despite the protection orders, we could not say that the Istanbul Convention was implemented. The decision to leave the convention proved once again that the government had no intention of stopping violence against women, even for the sake of populism.

With this decision, the AKP government has shown that it does not care at all about the murders of women despite the numbers increase. The AKP government proved that it does not consider the protection of women's rights in Turkey as a state responsibility. The AKP government has declared that it will not stop attacking women, but rather increase the attacks!

We did not expect any other attitude from the AKP. We did not expect the AKP government to combat violence against women when it tries to place religious reactionism in all the institutions of society, takes a new step every day to come to terms with secularism, fills the education system with religious dogmas, and carries out a new attack every day to push women out of social life.

Now is the time to counter this attack together! It is time to respond stronger to every step taken by the AKP!

Workers, women, and youth of this country will not surrender to AKP's attacks.

An equal, free and secular country will rise in our hands!

Resolutions by Women's Solidarity Committees

Following the Turkish government's decision to withdraw from the Istanbul Convention, Women's Solidarity Committees, initiated by the Communist Party of Turkey (TKP), started to prepare women's resolutions to raise the fight against reactionism.

The Committees declared that Women's Solidarity Committees are raising the struggle against the system's ceaseless attacks on women. "The communists call on women to make their own decisions to eradicate the violence and exploitation of women, to change this unequal and unjust order!", the Committees said in their statement.

The statement includes decisions on how to fight against reactionism, how to end violence against women, how to raise the struggle for equality as well as what kind of a country women want to live in.

Women's Solidarity Committees are raising the struggle against the system's ceaseless attacks on women.

The communists call on women to make their own decisions to eradicate the violence and exploitation of women, to change this unequal and unjust order!

Our call is to all women whose heart beats to live in an equal and free country!

Let’s raise the fight against reactionism!

The society has been ruled by religious references for many years in Turkey. The decisive influence of religion in social and public life is welcomed by the bosses and the political powers that represent them. Their decisions are less questioned, the search for justice is postponed to the afterlife.

Since its first day in power, the AKP has carried out countless reactionary practices. Islamic religious high schools became widespread, compulsory religion lessons were introduced to primary schools, and muftis were given the authority to marry. The opposition's answer, on the other hand, was to become increasingly similar to the AKP. By keeping their silence about the anti-science, anti-women and anti-enlightenment policies, they became a partner in these crimes.

Children of working people in financial difficulties were left to Islamic foundations and sects. Reactionism was allowed to expand and as it expanded the oppression and violence against women increased. The woman's body was objectified, her mind humiliated. The woman was glorified not by her place in social life, but by her motherhood.

But the more the AKP is at odds with the enlightenment character of the Republic, the more the women are determined to win much more than this system wants to take away!

For this reason, our way in our struggle against reactionism includes:

●      To stop defining and questioning social life through religious rules.

●      To prohibit the organization of reactionary Islamic foundations and sects.

●      To end the current reactionary curriculum in education and implement the new curriculum prepared on scientific grounds as soon as possible.

●      To end the compulsory religion classes and to start mixed-gender education in all schools.

●      To close the religious Imam-hatip high schools.

●      To consider forcing women to wear headscarves by their families, social circles, or workplaces on the grounds of religious rules a crime.

●      To terminate muftis' authority to perform marriage ceremonies.

●      To prohibit all kinds of practices involving gender discrimination in health service provision.

No to violence against women!

The root of all violence against women and femicides in Turkey and in the world is the system of exploitation. There are politicians who keep mentioning the family's sanctity while domestic violence and abuse continue. There is a legal system that cannot provide justice. There is the deregulation of the work regime in the interests of the bosses.

The policies of strengthening the family institution where the political power takes refuge in order to prevent women's struggle for equality and freedom are hypocritical. Most of the femicides are committed by grounding on customs and traditions.

Women are determined to fight to eradicate violence and exploitation! Therefore:

●  Solidarity houses should be opened for women who are subjected to violence. These solidarity houses should not be places where women are hiding, but where they receive the support of the whole society in rebuilding their lives.

●   The isolated ones should not be the ones who are exposed to violence, but those who use violence.

●  Persons found to have a tendency to commit violence should be included in violence prevention programs using scientific evaluations.

●   Privileges towards men and goodwill in law should be criminalized.

●  Any criticism or intervention that restricts women's freedom and social life with religious and traditional impositions should be considered a crime.

●  Individual armament should be prohibited.

We raise the struggle for equality in working life!

Women are less employed than men, despite the rise in education levels. Inequalities start even in job interviews; the marital status of women and the status of having children determine whether they will be recruited or not. Women are prevented from advancing in their profession on the pretext of pregnancy and breastfeeding leaves. Women who do the same job despite having the same education and qualifications are paid less than men. In economic crises, it is the women who are laid off first.

We refuse to be threatened with low wages and unemployment and we declare:

●  All women have the right to work. The state is obliged to guarantee the right of all citizens to work.

●  Workers doing the same job should receive the same wages regardless of gender, ethnicity, or religion.

●  Nurseries and breastfeeding rooms should be opened in line with the demands of the laborers, not the number of female workers in the workplaces. Workplaces that do not fulfill this duty should be punished.

●  It is a crime to prevent breastfeeding mothers from using their leaves.

No to injustices in parenthood!

For centuries, the care of children has been accepted as the duty of the mother. It is thought of as a necessity for women to leave their jobs for childcare or to work part-time or in work from home jobs. In families whose income does not cover daycare fees, women are sentenced to homes. In the labor legislation, the employer's obligation to provide nursery services is defined only for a certain number of female employees with children; the law does not take into account male employees with children.

But, children are the future of society; their health, education, and security are not only the parents' but the whole society's responsibility.

Women do not want the time spent with their children to be a burden. They want to enjoy the hours they spend with their children and collect good memories with them. Therefore:

●  It is compulsory to open free nurseries and daycare centers to every workplace and neighborhood with planning as soon as possible.

●  When the child is born, the right to paid leave for childcare should apply not only to the mother but also to the father.

●  The return of the mother or father to work after paid parental leave should be legally secured.

●  Birth control and abortion services should be included in free health care.

We raise the struggle for the regulation of social life in favor of women!

In addition to the care of the children, the care of the sick family members and the elderly and household chores are also burdened on women. Any kind of housework seen as "women's work" continues for centuries with the intense exploitation of women's labor. Women are cut off from social life under this workload.

However, none of the innate characteristics of women make them prone to housework. Women refuse to do this unproductive work where technology has developed so much and unemployment is such a big problem. From now on:

●  The number of nursing homes for elderly should be increased to a sufficient level.

●  Social facilities for the elderly, where they can continue their creative activities without leaving social life, should be opened.

●  Housework should not be a sphere where gender inequality is reproduced. Laundries, ironing houses, dining halls etc. in every neighborhood should be established and household chores should be socialized.

●  Suitable places should be created in every neighborhood to spend the time for creative, cultural, and sportive activities.

Let's struggle for women's right to education!

Today, children of many poor families cannot receive a quality education. Parents hand over their children to religious sects in the hope that they will have a future. Education is removed from being a public service and reconstructed with an individual understanding. In this process, girls are more affected by inequalities in education, which are gradually deepening. At a young age, they are forced to take on traditional female roles in housework and childcare. Girls are forced to be married at an early age or even become a mother.

Women do not give up their right to education and to have a profession, which is one of the most important achievements of the Republic! We declare that we will no longer give away our right to education.

●  Education is compulsory for all individuals, male and female, up to the age of 18.

●  Families who do not send their girls to school should be visited in the company of psychologists and pedagogues and persuaded to send their daughters to school. The education of girls whose families cannot be persuaded should be under the guarantee of the state.

●  Marriages between the ages of 15-18 should be prohibited even with parents' consent.

We raise the fight against hate crimes!

Insulting expressions against women have today spread to every field, from the media to politics, from culture and art to working life. All these discourses and behaviors that devalue women affect the lives of women. Women are affected by discriminatory language while choosing their profession, making decisions, and even going out on the streets. However, any attitude that degrades people and humiliates them with discrimination is a hate crime.

Women no longer want hate crimes to affect their lives. Therefore:

●  Public prosecution should be filed for any statement that degrades or objectifies women.

●  It is imperative to provide equitable and libertarian education at all levels, from early childhood to higher education.

● Every sphere of social life, from culture and arts to media, from academia to politics, from neighborhoods to workplaces, should be purged of all discriminatory and humiliating content and reconstructed in an egalitarian manner.

The women of this country, who defend the gains of the Republic, will leave their future neither to the solution proposals of imperialism nor to the corrupted political field. The women of this country will determine their own future and will not give up the struggle. They will struggle not only against violence but also against the whole reactionist policies, those who steal their labor, those who usurp the right to education, those who benefit from inequality. The women will definitely win! It is time to confront those who are afraid of the Istanbul Convention with our decisions showing what kind of country we will establish.

Let's struggle shoulder to shoulder and win together for the establishment of equal and free tomorrows! /