Women to take to the streets in Van on March 8

Rojbîn Bor from the board of the Star women's association in Van reports that seven women were murdered by men in the city in February alone. "We will take to the streets against this on March 8," she says.

Despite the years-long ban on gatherings, women will also celebrate March 8 in the Kurdish metropolis of Van, says Rojbîn Bor from the board of the Star Women's Association. Preparations for the rallies and actions in Van are in full swing. Together, the Free Women's Movement (TJA), the HDP Women's Council and the Star Women's Association are preparing actions and protests. The application for a large rally has not yet been answered by the governor. In an interview with ANF, Rojbîn Bor talks about the preparations for March 8 and the situation of women in Van.

"The country has turned into a huge graveyard for women"

Bor speaks of how the policy of impunity towards patriarchal violence has further emboldened perpetrators, "In 2020, 300 women were murdered in Turkey. For 182 women, the backgrounds of the murders are unknown. Last month, seven women died in Van under suspicious circumstances. We believe that the murders of women are political. It is a case of feminicide. The country has turned into a huge graveyard for women."

"The perpetrators are not afraid of justice"

Bor reports that murderers can simply say, "I'll go to jail for two or three months, then I'll be free again." She speaks of a policy of "special war" in Kurdistan. In particular, she points to the rapes by members of the army and the case of Sergeant Musa Orhan, the multiple rapist of the young Kurdish woman Ipek Er. While Ipek Er took her own life, Orhan was released. Bor says: "The trial of Musa Orhan is an expression of this policy. He had already said in phone calls and messages, 'Nothing will happen to me'."

"The biggest obstacle is the state"

Bor speaks of the importance of the March 8 women's protests, saying, "It is very valuable for us to come together with women and take to the streets together. The biggest obstacle to this is the state and its police. With the pandemic, violence against women has increased even more. All women's institutions have been closed or confiscated by the trustees. Our women's shelters have been closed. Women are subjected to physical and psychological violence. The Star Women's Association is fighting to change this situation."

Regarding the repression, Bor says: "We cannot work in public, almost all our work is criminalized as 'terrorism'. We want to hold a press conference against violence, but our association is surrounded. Doing politics is not illegal. Our statutes, our board and our work are completely open. We are an association that fights against violence against women."

The importance of the Istanbul Convention

Bor points to the importance of the Istanbul Convention in protecting women from violence, saying it's no wonder the rise in violence and the debate over abandoning the convention have coincided. During the pandemic, violence against women increased 1400 percent, Bor explains, continuing, "When the totalitarian regime was established, only Kurdish women were affected. But now it is clearly felt in the metropolises as well. That's why we are advocating for the Istanbul Convention. We are organizing the resistance."

"We will celebrate March 8"

Rojbîn Bor adds, "Pandemic conditions can be a problem. But while the pandemic is being used as an excuse to ban our activities, the government is holding celebrations in banging halls. We continue to work with the TJA and the HDP Women's Council. We will definitely take to the streets on March 8."