Violence against women has dramatically increased since the Justice and Development Party (AKP) came to power in 2002, and at least 15,557 women have been murdered in Turkey since then, according to a report drafted by an opposition deputy, the Birgün daily reported.
Main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) deputy Sezgin Tanrıkulu, also a prominent human rights activist, released a report drafted on the occasion of the March 8, International Women’s Day, about the violation of women’s rights in Turkey.
According to Tanrıkulu’s report, 66 women were murdered in Turkey in 2002, when the AKP first came to power, but the number has increased dramatically over the years.
At least 474 women were murdered in Turkey in 2019. In the first two months of 2020, at least 27 were killed in January and 22 in February.
Women’s rights organizations have for years been trying to raise awareness about the rise in violence against women that has taken place in the last 18 years.
Many think that it is linked to the policies and rhetoric of the AKP, which has its roots in political Islam.
AKP leader and President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has long been accused by critics of seeking to erode the country’s secular principles and limit the civil liberties of women.
Erdoğan has drawn the ire of feminist groups for declaring that every woman in Turkey should have three children and for proposals to limit abortion rights, the morning-after pill and caesarean sections.
He has also been accused of blatant sexism after declaring that women are not equal to men and claiming feminists in Turkey reject the idea of motherhood.
He said biological differences meant women and men could not serve the same functions, adding that manual work was unsuitable for the “delicate nature” of women.
Seen by critics as increasingly authoritarian, Erdoğan has also repeatedly lashed out personally at female journalists who displeased him.