The “Purple Roof” Women’s Shelter Foundation has condemned the fact that Turkey is not making provisions for women’s shelters.
In a statement marking International Women’s Day on 8 March, the “Purple Roof” (Mor Catı) Women’s Shelter Foundation demanded that first of all women’s right to life be safeguarded. It further condemned the clause defining “unjust provocation”, which, by reducing punishments, is legitimising violence. The foundation also demanded that the municipalities fulfill their duty of offering women shelter.
“According to Law No. 5393, any municipality with a population of over 50,000 needs to offer at least 200 places of shelter. However, three big cities in Turkey have no women’s shelters at all, and the National Action Plan does not give priority to shelters.”
Shelters not given priority
The National Action Plan has been published by the General Directorate on the Status of Women, attached to the Prime Ministerial Office, and has been signed by the Minister for Women, Family and Children. This means, so the Purple Roof, that shelters have been postponed until after 2010.
The foundation has also criticised the lack of education for judges and prosecutors. The sexist perspective of many in these professions even costs the lives of some women, whose rights are not sufficiently protected.
Action being delayed
The National Action Plan is also criticised for its lack of clarity. It aims at identifying problematic areas in the law, which, so the foundation, have already been identified by women lawyers. What should be done immediately is to deal with these problematic areas.
The promise of the National Action Plan to fight against violence is meaningless if women’s shelters and women, with their children, trying to leave violent partners are not supported. As long as women are not found employment and their children are not looked after, many women are forced to return to their partners, despite knowing that their lives are in danger.
Instead of forcing municipalities to open shelters, the Plan is putting forward family advice centres. However, women experiencing violence may be put in greater danger by such centres if their violent partners see them there.