Protest aims to highlight violence against women
THOUSANDS are expected to take to the streets of Lefkoşa on Sunday, November 25 to highlight anti-female violence after the killing of a woman in Gönyeli last week.
Gülbahar Ulutan, 45, became the second woman to be murdered in the TRNC this year after being beaten and stabbed to death while at her weekly house-cleaning job last Wednesday. Police arrested the prime suspect in the killing following a three-day manhunt.
At a press conference last Friday, Kayad Community Centre head and TRNC “first lady” Meral Akıncı, wife of President Mustafa Akıncı, announced the planned demonstration and urged people to take part.
“We will not allow the normalisation of murder and violence against women,” said Mrs Akıncı, whose centre is organising the demonstration on the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women.
Speaking three years after legislation was enacted — but never implemented — to establish a government Gender Equality Department, Mrs Akıncı said: “Violence against women is becoming more serious every day and gender inequality is at its core because the country lacks the mechanism to address the issue.
“Legal aid was made available some months ago but is not comprehensive and lacks the essential mechanism to provide efficient services to women who have been subjected to violence.”
She said “society itself” had contributed to the problem, and commented: “We need to decide as a society . . . whether we continue to just say, ‘oh no!’ when we hear about the murder of a woman before moving on with our lives, or whether we acknowledge it as a political problem, take responsibility and contribute to a social transformation.”
Meanwhile, during a parliamentary debate this week, feminist Republican Turkish Party MP Doğuş Derya said: “We need to introduce deterrent measures to overcome the culture of violence.
“We should not be waiting for women to be killed. The government must do its bit.”
In response, Labour and Social Security Minister Zeki Çeler said his ministry had “taken the necessary steps” to establish a Gender Equality Department but claimed employment of staff for it had been delayed by the Public Services Commission.
Highlighting that onethird of TRNC women had been subjected to violence, head of the Medical Association Özlem Gürkut also called for action to combat the trend while adding her voice to demands for a Gender Equality Department to be established “as soon as possible”.