The Spark

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.” — Karl Marx

Turkey:
Non-Stop Violence against Women

Sep 19, 2011

The following article is from the August 2011 issue of Class Struggle [Sinif Mucadelesi], the newspaper published by the revolutionary workers’ group of that name active in Turkey.

In the Hatay region of Turkey, a young woman of 21 left her husband, expecting to find refuge for herself and her daughter at her father’s. Instead, she was murdered by her father, brothers, and uncles. She had supposedly sullied the family’s honor by preferring to marry the man of her choice rather than a cousin. She paid for it with her life!

In another region, a woman who wanted a divorce was beaten and strangled by her husband, who also poured acid on her face. In the capital Ankara, two women were killed by their husbands while their children watched. Four other women were also massacred this way.

Women are thus murdered by their own relatives. If we believe the polls, the “average” Turk is “satisfied,” feeling the “family” upheld. But such a family order needs to disappear – immediately!

Deadly violence against women in the family is linked to the persistence of old, reactionary ideas. This society of poverty and inequality supports such rubbish – with consequences for all human relations.

When the man is considered the sole master in the family, wrong is always attributed to women.

Added to this are the reactionary religious ideas encouraged by politicians. Allied to religious institutions, the politicians defend the view that men challenged by women must defend their honor; that men should decide when and whom a woman can marry and prohibit a woman from having any other sexual relations. In the family, the last word must remain with men – this is what is taught in conferences organized by associations, private schools and city governments. Both the Turkish prime minister and the president recently exhibited their spouses wearing veils, docile and smiling at the side of their husbands. The clear message is that they are the man’s property and his slave.

In theory, the Turkish Constitution and civil code were updated in 2008 to improve the rights of women. But women face exactly the same attitudes from the officials supposed to enforce these codes that they face from their husbands. Police often send a woman back to her violent husband with remarks like, “He’s your husband, make peace with him.” The majority of police think like the violent husbands, considering them always right.

In these circumstances the prime minister declared, “Women aren’t the equal of men, they are only equal in rights.” This could encourage all those who despise women.

Enough of these ideas and reactionary practices. The assassinations of women must be stopped!