After an attempted military coup in Turkey on July 15, the future of women’s rights in Turkey is precarious. There is a fear that the conservative Islamist movement will become stronger after the coup. Since the coup women have reported an increase of harassment in the streets.
“I don’t have any hopes whatsoever about Turkey. I fear the worst is yet to come,” said one woman in Istanbul. “I think it’s become much harder for modern women to live here after Friday night, because we have seen the might of the bearded middle-age Islamic tribe.”
“The coup, the war, AKP’s (Turkey’s ruling party) backwardness or jihadist mobs … they all target women,” said University Women’s Collective, a popular feminist group, in a recent statement. “They use sexual harassment against women’s [quest to] exist freely. They are enforcing their manhood by threatening to rape the wives or daughters of the declared enemy. Women must defend themselves.”
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has declared a three-month state of emergency, giving his government new enhanced powers that will allow laws to be made without having to pass through the parliament’s process. It will also be able to impose restrictions on the press and NGOs. Laws that protect women’s rights in Turkey may become open to interpretation, as many fear that the government will start suppressing civil society women’s groups.
“I believe it’s going to get worse after the coup attempt,” said Burcu Karakas, a female journalist in Turkey. “The only way to stand against it is solidarity among women.”
Failed coup in Turkey: What you need to know, CNN, July 18 2016
Women are being silenced in Turkey’s crackdown, Public Radio International, July 19 2016
Women have been targeted in the failed Turkish coup, Humanosphere, July 22 2016