Protesters urge end to violence against women in Turkey

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Protesters chant slogans during a rally to mark International Women’s Day in Istanbul, Monday, March 8, 2021.Thousands of people joined the march to denounce violence against women in Turkey, where more than 400 women were killed last year. The demonstrators are demanding strong measures to stop attacks on women by former partners or family members as well as government commitment to a European treaty on combatting violence against women. (AP Photo/Emrah Gurel)

ISTANBUL (AP) — Thousands of people joined a Women’s Day march in central Istanbul on Monday to denounce violence against women in Turkey, where more than 400 women were killed last year.

As in previous years, riot police put up barricades and blocked demonstrators from marching to the city’s main square, Taksim, citing security concerns. Unable to reach Taksim, the demonstrators walked in the opposite direction toward the shores of the Bosporus, where the march ended peacefully.

The demonstrators are demanding strong measures to stop attacks on women by former partners or family members as well as government commitment to a European treaty on combating violence against women.

Some officials from President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s Islam-oriented party have advocated a review of the agreement, claiming it encourages divorce and promotes LGBT culture which they say are contrary to the country’s conservative values.

A total of 68 women were killed in the country since the start of the year, according to the We Will Stop Femicide Platform. At least 408 women were killed in 2020, according to the group.

Earlier on Monday, Erdogan pledged to form a new parliamentary committee to look into ways to prevent attacks on women, saying “we just cannot allow it to happen.”

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