IHD Statement on November 25 International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women

No to Male-Dominant Violence!


Human rights defenders, women’s and LGBTI+ organizations will once more put violence against women on the agenda as they do each year on November 25.

Yet, women will be subjected to violence each and every hour, every minute.

It is not possible to talk about violence against women isolating it from the official system; male-dominated governments rule the whole world.

An utterly patriarchal, militarist, and feudal perspective has been rendered dominant within our geography as well…

One should always remember that while opposing the oppressor-oppressed dichotomy between men and women, it is also necessary to oppose racism, chauvinism, and militarism.

The last stage of male-dominance is the organized state grounded on a militarist and sexist so-called moral understanding.

Therefore, it is not possible to discuss violence against women disregarding such official policies.

The Republic of Turkey, unfortunately, cannot be a state of law as there is always a discrepancy between its written law and its practices.

Women and trans women have many achievements both in domestic and international law.

For instance, the Republic of Turkey was the first one to sign the İstanbul Convention (Council of Europe Convention on Preventing and Combating Violence against Women and Domestic Violence) of 12 May 2011. Further, Article 90 of the Turkish Constitution prescribes that the provisions of international agreements shall prevail over domestic law. Article 1 of the İstanbul Convention that sets forth the purposes of the convention reads:


  • The purposes of this Convention are to:
  1. protect women against all forms of violence, and prevent, prosecute and eliminate violence against women and domestic violence;
  2. contribute to the elimination of all forms of discrimination against women and promote substantive equality between women and men, including by empowering women;
  3. design a comprehensive framework, policies and measures for the protection of and assistance to all victims of violence against women and domestic violence;
  4. promote international co-operation with a view to eliminating violence against women and domestic violence;
  5. provide support and assistance to organizations and law enforcement agencies to effectively co-operate in order to adopt and integrated approach to eliminating violence against women and domestic violence.


The 2018 data on violence against women, on the other hand, clearly reveals the fact that the provisions of this Convention have not been implemented by the state although it signed such a significant document.

In its response to to a parliamentary question, the Ministry of the Interior stated that the number of women who were subjected to male violence or gender-based violence within the first 7 months of 2018 was 96,417 while 393 women were killed within the same time period.

Moreover, the Communications Center for the Office of the President (CİMER) announced that the records showed that 21,957 children were pregnant within 18 months.

What this figure signifies is that 21,957 girls were raped within 18 months. These figures unearth a terrifying reality.

Women and girls continue being the most vulnerable victims of violence in times when violence and chauvinism are legitimized to such an extent and when processes of conflict are witnessed in such an intensive manner.

If an act of murder was committed because of “honor” the sentence to be imposed on the perpetrator would be reduced before a legislative amendment was introduced to the Turkish Penal Code in 2005.

This perception was the embodiment of the sexist moral understanding in the penal code. This article was amended as a result of women’s struggles but the understanding that found itself a place within the article has not changed yet.

An academic, Mehmet Karalı, the Dean of the Faculty of Aviation and Space Sciences of a university in Konya, where young people attend to be educated, has recently made a statement. He said, “I disagree with some policies regarding family life. Raising a good kid, being a good housewife are more crucial than being a minister or a prime minister or a successful businesswoman. I will not vote for any female mayoral candidate in the local elections.”

Can we disregard the fact that there is a major parallelism between the political will that assigns such person with such a perspective to the office of the dean and violence against women?

This is the reason why women are subjected to violence, are killed, banned from politics, and are merely sentenced to live in their houses.

This is why we say violence against women is political violence!

And murder of women is political murder!

Women and trans women in our country continue being subjected to violence in all fields of life. They have hard time in proving the violence they are subjected to before the courts. Because public prosecutors’ offices and the courts do not admit independent medical doctors’ reports as evidence, as is the case in torture cases, in documenting violence against women. Although there is no legal obligation, they ask for forensic reports. Yet, the Forensic Medicine Institute is an official expert opinion institute. It is downright dependent on the political will.

Many sick women inmates are in a life-or-death struggle in prisons because of the same forensic medicine reports.

Women are subjected to gender-based discrimination and violence everywhere: at home, in the streets, at workplaces.

Thousands of women have been doomed to starve after having been dismissed from their public posts through decree-laws.

Further, when one looks at the structure of the Grand National Assembly of Turkey, it becomes crystal clear that women are given little place in politics.

When all these are taken into consideration, the fact that the Republic of Turkey has been disregarding the international conventions it signed in the field of violence against women emerges as well.

We, as women human rights defenders, will continue to exist in all areas of life and oppose male-dominant, feudal, and military violence.