Female HDP Deputies are on strike for solidarity with international women's strike

Female HDP Deputies are on strike for solidarity with international women's strike

Statement made by our Parliamentary Group Deputy Co-Chair and Istanbul MP Ms. Filiz Kerestecioğlu, declaring that HDP Women deputies will participate in the Global Women Strike on the 8th of March:

Dear Press Members,

March 8th International Women's Day is approaching. This year, there is a much greater movement all over the world compared to previous years.

Turkey has always been a land of struggle for us, the women. We have always struggled to survive, to get education, to go to the schools we want, to seek our right to the invisible labor we perform in the household, to exist in the streets that men can freely wander and to get rid of the politicians who capitalize on our bodies for their own political purposes. We never had the luxury of leaving the streets empty. Today, women are preparing to fill the streets on March 8th all over the world. A great number of women have come together to announce a general strike on March 8th with the strength they obtained from the millions spilling into the streets after the election of Donald Trump who is well-known for his words and acts of hostility against women.

The election of Donald Trump as president was, in fact, only a symptom of bigger problems. Workers’ rights and women's rights were slowly being undermined, and racism, xenophobia, nationalism and militarism were becoming widespread in the United States. Women in the US this time cried out a strong "Enough!” and joined those who organized powerful strikes in Latin America, Poland and Italy. The demonstration against male violence in Latin America, the right to abortion in Poland, the demonstrations for reproductive rights in South Korea and Ireland, and the spectacular march in Italy on November 26 have already ignited the fuse.

Polish women walked out in 60 cities in October against the law prohibiting abortion (even in life-threatening conditions) and proposing imprisonment for those who would violate it. The students boycotted the schools, the housewives came out and refused to do housework, some restaurants and workplaces gave greeting support and took down their shutters. The law draft was finally lifted in the wake of these women's struggles.

After a great number of women in Argentina were tortured and murdered, the women went out to the streets under the banner "Ni Una Menos”(“Not One Less”), by which they meant, “they would not lose one more woman.”

Women in Italy joined them in Italian, saying "Non Una Di Meno".

On this 8th of March, so far, women in more than 50 countries have taken a first step to organize an international strike against men’s violence and defend their abortion rights. Women from different countries in the world will go on strike for 24 hours simultaneously on the International Women's Day. On that day, women will not go to work, will not clean or go shopping. They will wear black and purple dresses to support the strike.

Today, women from all over the world are coming together against police violence, wars and misogynist politicians to defend their rights and freedoms. This time women's fury is really vast. An anti-capitalist feminist uprising is emanating against the political, cultural and economic attacks predicated on Muslim, immigrant, working or unemployed women, women from different ethnic identities, lesbians or transgendered identities.

Women of Turkey also come together in different cities last week and made the same call. They called out the women on March 8th.

In Turkey, a vast number of women’s associations, women's units and shelters have been recently closed down by decree lawsfollowing the proclamation of a State of Emergency regime in July 20th of 2016. These institutions were playing vital roles in preventing violence against women, helping women defend their rights and empower themselves in the public realm.

Turkey is a country whose institutions have swept the issue of violence against women under the carpet -for instance- by establishing Divorce Commissions or Family Counseling Centers instead of Women’s Centers.  All kinds of harassment, rape, exploitation of migrant women have been seen as 'natural’ in Turkey; Jessica and Violet who came to this country with hope were murdered terribly here.

While getting a degree and having a profession is a whole struggle and freedom in itself for women of this country, a vast number of women were dismissed from their professions with the decree laws. Women academicians and those with important academic titles in women’s studies have been fired from their positions.

Against all these and against the threat of a civil war in the face of rising violence and cross-border operations, women in Turkey have today come together for defending equality, justice, peace and a beautiful future. They say that they will not surrender their goodwill to hatred, they will not surrender their friendship to enmity and they will not entrust their lives to ‘a single man.’

We believe that women who have changed the course of history many times will again raise their voice and succeed in turning Turkey’s face into the direction of peace and justice once again.

In the meantime, we, as the female deputies of the People's Democratic Party, have decided to raise this voice for the first time from thesite of a parliament. We move this strike to the parliament and we move our struggle to the streets. On March 8th all female deputies of our party will be with women in different cities and will stop to work in the General Assembly. We will struggle until all the world's leaders give up their misogynist policies, until they offer free health care for all women including abortion, until they form an effective policy against women's sexual abuse, sexual violence and all forms of violence! We quit parliamentary work on March 8! We know that the world is in a crisis, but we refuse to be the victims of this crisis!

Filiz Kerestecioğlu
Peoples' Democratic Party
Parliamentary Group Deputy Co-Chair
1 March 2017