Turkish women protest abortion ban with music and dance
ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News
Thousands of women march in Istanbul’s Kadıköy district to protest a government plan to put restrictions on abortion. DHA photoWomen from different backgrounds yesterday raised their voice against the Turkish government’s recent initiative to legally restrict or ban abortion, by holding colorful demonstrations in a number of Turkish cities.
More than 3000 women - mostly from women’s rights associations - gathered in the Kadıköy district of Istanbul with colorful banners and flags protesting the Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) initiative to ban abortion and make a claim on their own bodies.
The demonstrators chanted slogans and waved anti-government banners; calling on the government to “keep its hands off women’s bodies.”
Banners included statements such as: “It is my body, so who are you?” “Abortion is my choice, murder is men’s method,” “AKP, keep your hands off me.”
“Uludere is a massacre, abortion is a right” read others, in reference to Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s statement last week that “every abortion is an Uludere, every abortion is a murder.”
There was also music and dance at the protest, with women singing the famous Turkish song, “I was born free, I shall live free, who are you?” together. A number of women wearing headscarves also participated in the demonstration.
Waving a purple flag in her hand, 36-year-old Aylin Kapusuz said, “We don’t want the government to be in our bedroom. Nobody can have a right over my body, it is only me who can decide on my body.”
Another demonstrator, Ayşegül Bozdoğan, said, “My body only belongs to me, it doesn’t belong to the government or anybody else. The prime minister is tyrannizing the women who have a different lifestyle to him, in the same way that women with headscarves were tyrannized years ago.”
It was not only women protesting the abortion ban initiative, a number of men were also present.
Movie critic Alper Turgut, 41, said the government had gone over the limit. “This is an assault against the female body. At this point, men and women all have to gather to push back against this assault. Otherwise, turning adultery into a crime and allowing men to marry four women will follow the abortion ban.”
There were also demonstrations held in the other cities such as Ankara, İzmir, Edirne and Şanlıurfa.
Protests began following Erdoğan’s announcement of forthcoming legislation on abortion. Erdoğan announced on May 30 that he had delivered instructions to the Cabinet to begin drafting new legislation on abortion, in the wake of his recent comments equating the practice with murder.
Health Minister Recep Akdağ has said his ministry is currently drafting a law to ban or restrict abortion, and stated that babies born out of incidents of sexual assault could be protected by the state.