Crisis of Women’s Rights in Turkey during the AKP regime

Until now the picture looks very nice and shows rather an optimistic view of Turkish reality. What needs to be done is look at the medals other side and see what trend of women’s rights is seen in the last decade and why women’s presence in the Gezi movement was significant. During the AKP government period which started in 2002, the role of the women changed dramatically. Not only the number of working women decreased within this decade but also the number of women murderers’ tortures rose. The acts of violence against women officially declared in October 2012 show that the number of cases raised to 1400% during the AKP office[1]. These acts of violence include torture, murder, physical and psychological violence and forceful marriage.

The growing interference into women’s right and their body’s was regulated through a set of new regulations. A hot discussion about abolishing abortion was debated heavily. Erdogan in his appeal to women he warned: “Abortion is a murder”[2]. The initial plan of AKP was to forbid abortion, due to the reason that even the fetus is a human and has right to live. Strong opposition from the Women Rights and Human Rights Organization could prevent this intervention into women’s body. Nevertheless AKP was pushing against the idea of conscientious objection of women by giving doctors the responsibility and decision making power when it comes to abortion. In this case it means that solely state owned hospitals are allowed to make abortion and this only when the doctors find it necessary. This means that private hospitals should not have the license to make abortion. Therewith women would have no longer control or say about their bodies. This proposals however went under pressure through the “my body  my decision campaign” and it was not adopted. Another topic was the ceaserian birth issue. The regulation foresaw that each woman was able to decide either on ceaserian or natural birth. Since ceasearian birth is an surgency and is linked to complications and limits the fertiliy of women. What lies behind this can be easly unstood with Erdogan’s words: “With caesarian no more than two children are possible”[3]. This crucial decision is no longer let to women. Ceaserian birth is only possible when a complication to natural birth occurs. A women has not the chance to choose  but soley the doctors are the ones to decide on the way of birth. The pressure of the chancellor Erdogan on women to follow a (atleast) three child policy changes the image of women in the society. ” One child means bankruptcy; two children mean bankruptcy three children mean keeping the status quo”[4] Later Erdogan corrected himself and announced that five children is a good number.

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