It was weird. Unlike in recent years, in which the march for International Women’s Day was repressed with police charges, tear gas and some arrests , the demonstration in 2021 occurred with absolute calm .
There was not a single altercation, and the police watched quietly. Everything has changed, however, early Thursday morning, three days after the march. The Turkish police have issued an arrest warrant for 18 women who participated in the protest. Of them, 13 have been detained from their homes at night. His alleged crime, having insulted the president.
“The images of groups of people shouting slogans during the action dubbed the Feminist Night March for International Women’s Day have been examined. A total of 13 of 18 identified suspects have been arrested. The investigation continues, ” the Istanbul governor’s office said in a statement this Thursday morning .
These are the slogans for which these women could be sentenced to up to four years in prison, explained by their lawyers: “We have examined the documents, and the accusation is that these women insulted the president by shouting in the march Boat, boat, boat , who does not vote is Tayyip – in reference to the Turkish president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan – , and run, Tayyip, run, run, the women are coming , ” explained an association of feminist lawyers , which is the one who leads the defense of women arrested.
This association has also said that since everyone wore masks during the march , the police have arrested not the people who sang those slogans, because that would be impossible to know, but the women who bounced to the rhythm of the song.
Thousands of defendants
In recent years, in Turkey, the number of open cases and convictions of its citizens for “having insulted the president” have multiplied exponentially . Before Erdogan came to power, the number of people convicted of this crime was 44 in the entire history of the Republic of Turkey , founded in 1923.
Erdogan has been president since 2015 – he was prime minister before – and from that year to 2019 , 21,378 were convicted for having “insulted the president.” Trials for this crime, some lawyers denounce, are constantly opened and by default .
“We were all there. Let the detainees be released immediately! “Said the association that called the March 8 march in Istanbul, which has promised, while the trial lasts, to demonstrate in court.
Human Rights Plan
The women’s day march came just a week after Erdogan unveiled a new “human rights plan” in Turkey, in which he promised, among many other issues, to protect the freedom of information, expression and demonstration of the Turks. “We assume that the new plan does not apply to women . Our answer is solidarity! ”, Has replied, through a spokesperson, the feminist women’s platform.