Turkish opposition warns state is using rape as a means of warfare

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TURKEY’s opposition Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) warned today that rape is being used as a means of warfare by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP).

Speaking at a press conference in Ankara, the chairwoman of the party’s women’s council, Ayse Acar Basaran, charged the AKP with responsibility for two recent rapes allegedly carried out by Turkish soldiers.

A 13-year-old girl was raped in the largely Kurdish city of Sirnak earlier this month, while a 17-year-old girl was raped in Batman province. In both cases, the alleged perpetrators were non-commissioned officers of the Turkish army.

“It is becoming apparent, almost every day, that this is a method of special warfare of the governing coalition of AKP and MHP [the far-right Nationalist Movement Party],” she said.

The recent murder of 27-year-old student Pinar Gultekin triggered mass protests and a call for the government to ditch plans to withdraw from the Istanbul Convention.

Signatories are obliged to tackle gender-based crime, provide protection and services for women and ensure that perpetrators are prosecuted.

“For each murder of a woman, we declare again that it is a result of the AKP policy. In June alone, 27 women were murdered; another 23 women died in suspicious ways.

“Since the AKP has come to power, over 3,000 women have been murdered. This is a femicide,” Ms Basaran charged.

She warned of the attacks on politically active women including Rojbin Cetin, who was tortured and mauled by dogs during a three-and-a-half-hour interrogation last month.

“This is to signal to us that we are confronted with all instruments of violence when we defend ourselves against attacks on women,” she said.

Ms Basaran warned that pulling out of the Istanbul Convention was unacceptable while women are being murdered and raped on a daily basis.

“Every day there are TV debates on this topic, but women do not get a chance to speak,” she said, adding that the convention is the result of a struggle led by thousands of women.

“We will not allow this achievement to be taken away from us,” she insisted.

Source: Morning Star Online

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