Hafsa Girdap, Executive Director and Spokesperson for Advocates of Silenced Turkey, issued this statement March 8, 2022, marking both Women’s History Month and International Women’s Day.

Since July 15, 2016, shredding democracy in Turkey has reached the threshold of collapse due to the administration’s collective persecution of political opponents and critics. In the aftermath of the failed coup attempt in 2016, the Turkish government arrested, detained, sacked, and tortured hundreds of thousands of innocent people without due process in the arbitrary name of rooting out “terrorism.”

The government’s heavy-handed persecution has reached the lives of thousands of women, along with their infants and children in many cases. On top of the existing women’s rights violations and violence against women, the current administration uses arbitrary arrests and lengthy pretrial detentions to imprison courageous women who have opposed oppression in their own capacity. Today, the number of women arbitrarily incarcerated as political prisoners stands at more than 5,000 with a staggering increase in the number of new victims. In Turkey, imprisoned women, and prisoners of conscience in particular, live in unsanitary prisons and are denied their rights to nutritional food, access to basic and complex healthcare, and feminine hygiene products.

We, as Advocates of Silenced Turkey, stand for the rights of the women victims of the ongoing persecution in Turkey. We demand proper implementation of laws which recognize and protect the women’s rights and well-beings. We also call on the Turkish authorities to ensure the freedom of arbitrarily jailed women, the protection of the rights of incarcerated women and to secure justice for victims of femicide. On the occasion of Women’s History Month and International Women’s Day, we proclaim our sincerest support for women as human rights advocates concerned for women’s rights in Turkey and the rest of the world. Along with millions of others united in spirit on International Women’s Day, we demand an equal and enabled world for women.