Women’s organisations and their representatives are targeted by Turkish state. HDP MP Semra Güzel was subjected to a smear campaign, her immunity was lifted and she was violently arrested.
HDP MP Semra Güzel was violently arrested on 2 September after her immunity was lifted in March. The footage of the deputy being grabbed by the hair and being taken away with her hands tied behind her back was exploited for propaganda and distributed in the Turkish state media. Rüya Kurtuluş from the initiative Women are strong together spoke to ANF about the arrests.
A big propaganda campaign has been going on since Semra Güzel's immunity was lifted. How do you rate the arrest and mistreatment by the police?
A targeted operation against Semra Güzel began in January. The lifting of her parliamentary immunity and, of course, the arrest are unacceptable. It was an unlawful and hostile attack at every stage. A sexist and racist attack by the AKP government began with the publication of photos from the solution process period. Trolls attacked Semra Güzel as a woman and as a Kurd on behalf of the government. Her immunity was then lifted, with the support of some opposition parties, and now, months later, Semra Güzel was arrested with her arms tied behind her back and her head down as if a criminal had been caught.
In this country, the police have arrested killers of women and intellectuals and bombers with slaps on the back. Countless photos of the interior minister of this country with such murderers have been published. We are all witnesses of it. But we also witnessed the treatment of MEP Semra Güzel and we will never forget it. The government's criminal record is growing. The treatment of Semra Güzel and the images of violence against her that have been published represent a message of fascism to women, Kurds and society. Semra Güzel has given the best response to this message by not bowing her head. We women have responded to the attacks of the AKP government by not giving in for a moment. We will never back down in the face of these misogynistic, racist and reactionary attacks.
What can and should women do about this racist and sexist policy?
Misogyny is one of the main pillars of the regime erected by Erdoğan in Turkey. The rights that women have won over many years of struggle have to be systematically taken back. This is about keeping women out of public space and politics or forcing them to participate in life within the limits prescribed for women. In Turkey, the presence of women in parliament and city administrations has always been blocked. However, this changed with the Kurdish women's movement and the HDP, and for the first time, so many women MPs found a seat in parliament. However, women MPs have been systematically attacked, stripped of their immunity in Parliament and arrested. The women's movement has always shown solidarity and has taken to the streets against forced administrators and arrests.
We are fighting shoulder to shoulder for the release of Aysel Tuğluk, for the end of torture and violence in prisons, for the restoration of women's freedoms that were destroyed by the prison administrators. We see the arrests of women MPs not only as a violation of the will of those who elected them, but also as an attack on the hard-won rights that all women have conquered together. Anyone who advocates equal civil rights, democracy, gender equality and political rights must stand up to these attacks.
Kurdish women representatives in particular are jailed. There seems to be an outright policy of intimidation. What do you think?
Today the palace and its ministers, law enforcement agencies and courts launched a special war front against women politicians. But the Kurdish women's movement is still here, after years of hard struggle. And all over Turkey there is a strong women's movement fighting together. We will face these attacks and repression together and build the country we dream of by fighting together.