Smyrna, 4 women arrested for protesting withdrawal from the Istanbul convention

The activists were members of the Young Free Women movement and the Socialist Women's Assembly. During interrogation they allegedly suffered beatings and abuse. Women’s rights activists say the convention is fundamental to counter "fascism" and the daily "massacres" of women. The “Sofà-gate” case and the question of women in Erdogan's Turkey.

Istanbul (AsiaNews) - The Turkish authorities yesterday arrested a small group of women for staging a protest against the government decision (and President Recep Tayyip Erdogan) to withdraw from the Istanbul convention.

The demonstration, contained in numbers, took place in front of the headquarters of the Presidential Communications Department in Konak, a district of the province of Smyrna, in the west of the country along the Aegean coast.

Four women, who were later arrested, belonging to the Young Free Women movement (ÖGK) and the Socialist Women's Assembly (SKM) organised the protest.

The activists had met in front of the local offices of the Presidency of the Republic to express their dissent on the withdrawal - wanted by Erdogan himself - from the Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence. Better known as the Istanbul Convention, the international treaty was signed in the Turkish metropolis of the same name in May 2011.

According to reports from the Mezopotamya Agency (Ma), the women opened a banner that read "We will defend the convention, break down fascism." "We do not accept the termination of the convention. While several women are massacred in this land every day, murderers walk on the streets freely. While your male justice puts women and women's struggle on trial, we, as women, have never stayed silent and will not do so," they said.

Before being arrested, the women chanted slogans and songs including " "We don't hush, we don't fear" and "Not male justice, but real justice", addressing ironic applause towards the presidential offices. Local witnesses report that the women arrested are Gül Gök, Meryem Yıldırım, Güngör Didar Gül and İrem Nur Çelikbaş.

They are currently being held in the maximum security prison and have allegedly suffered beatings and abuse during interrogation.

In recent days, Turkey has been the scene of a further story involving a woman in the context of the so-called “Sofa-gate”. The president of the EU Commission Ursula von der Leyen, in the official meeting with Erdogan together with the president of the European Council, Charles Michel, was left without a chair and, not without embarrassment, had to fall back on a sofa set apart from the two male leaders.

In her conversation with Erdogan, Ursula von der Leyen raised the issue of withdrawal from the Istanbul Convention and the problem of rights and violence against women in the country.