BWI Turkish affiliate Civil Servants’ Union of Forestry, Agriculture, Husbandry and Environment (TARIM ORMAN-IS) coordinated and supported the march of three Turkish women on 3 March 2018 from the city Canakkale to the capital Ankara. The women, including a retiree, walked to Ankara to draw attention regarding violence and abuse against children and women as this represents a serious social problem in Turkey. They also protest against animal rape and destruction of nature. Their 750 km march will last around 40 days.
In Februay 2018, 47 women were killed by men in Turkey. In 2017, the total number of women killed reached 409, alongside 387 cases of child molestation. Following the increase in the number of violent cases and child molestation, a new wave of outcry of the civil society has been raised by CSOs, public figures and partly media to draw the attention of politicians once again to the immediate need of heavier punishment for perpetrators. Afterwards, the goverment announced that they drafted a new law with an Article of lesser punishment for abusers of victims aged 12 and above but heavier for 12 and younger.
The age limit for lesser and heavier punishment has triggered a shock wave in public as it is perceived “unacceptable”. To reflect their reaction against such a draft law, three Turkish women met with TARIM ORMAN-IS Executive Board members and planned this march. Sukru Durmus, TARIM ORMAN-IS President, stated: “We all have had enough to witness violence against children, women, animal rape and destruction of natural resources. It is very unfortunate that all of these are persistent and chronic problems in our society for decades. Violence is a big enemy and we should fight together and we all should say no and make it stop. We should be the voice of animals and nature as well. We believe that this march of these three brave women will surely be a victorious step to a brighter future for the rights of women, children and animals and for the protection of environment.”
The women set out the road with a nine-point petition they have drawn up to collect signatures from their supporters. The petition demands a new law to implement stricter measures with no remission option to prevent all kinds of violence against children, women, animals and destruction of environment which will be well-suited with the Convention on the Rights of the Child, Istanbul Convention and other relevant international conventions and agreements.
The march will be accompanied by TARIM ORMAN-IS members along with local residents and other CSOs at the entrance of various cities on the way to the capital. TARIM ORMAN-IS Executive Board members will join the walk to enter the capital with the women as a group. The group will later go to the parliament to submit their petition and signatures.