Trial of 33 women defending Istanbul Convention resumed in Ankara

The Turkish police attacked women before the hearing of 33 women who are prosecuted for opposing the government decision to withdraw from the Istanbul Convention.

The first hearing of the case against 33 women, who had been detained during an event on August 12, 2020 denouncing the government decision to withdraw from the Istanbul Convention, was held at the Ankara 28th Criminal Court of First Instance on Monday.

The women, who all stand trial without arrest, were set to make a statement in front of the courthouse where the hearing took place. The police cracked down on the group and detained around 20 women, including those standing trial in the case.

In response to the police violence, the women staged a protest march, saying, “Women are on trial here because they say the Istanbul Convention should be implemented. We women will implement the Convention.”

The police also attacked the march with tear gas.

Journalists, too, were subjected to police violence in the Turkish capital. The cell phone of Jinnews reporter Dilan Babat, who wanted to take a video, was seized by the police and thrown to the ground. Mezopotamya Agency (MA) reporter Hakan Yalçın was also subjected to police violence.

A part of the press statement that the women were prevented from making in front of the courthouse before the hearing is as follows:

“We have come to condemn the male state which cannot tolerate us to demand even our most legitimate rights. This case is the case of all women. Today, women's struggle is being prosecuted in these courtrooms. The government covers up the suspicious deaths of women and encourages perpetrators of feminicide with its policies of impunity and all kinds of sexist and misogynistic rhetoric. You will be judged, not the women who defend their rights and lives.”


The 33 women are accused of “opposing the law on demonstrations and marches no. 2911”.

Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) MPs Filiz Kerestecioğlu, Züleyha Gülüm and Semra Güzel and lawyers were present at the hearing. The women standing trial did not enter the courtroom, protesting the detention of their friends. Representatives from Amnesty International and journalists were not allowed into the courtroom either.

The lawyers and the defendants denounced the police attack on women before the hearing and refused to make a defence.

The court rejected the lawyers’ request to file a criminal complaint against the police officers that battered lawyers and women and did not allow them into the court. The hearing was adjourned to November 26.