Left party launches 'NO' campaign for Erdogan's referendum
Photo: HDP Women’s Assembly
Turkey’s Peoples’ Democratic Party, or HDP, Women’s Assembly launched its ‘No’ campaign for the upcoming referendum on Turkey’s constitution, with an event in Ankara on February 5. The proposed changes would award President Erdogan more executive powers.
Here is the full text of the HDP Women’s Assembly’s declaration: (Emphasis has been added in bold for ease of scanning)
We have struggled for our freedom against dominance based on singularity throughout history.
We have opposed the domination of one gender over the other; the dominance of one person over the entire family; the rule of kings, emperors and sultans over the peoples; the oppression of one nation over others; capitalists’ domination over labor and nature, and the oppression of a single belief system over other belief systems.
We have struggled hand in hand against all oppressive forms of government in cities, in the countryside, at work, at home, on the street, at the resistance and intifada zones.
While the Turkish Penal Code and the Civil Code were enacted during 2000s, we have made sure that changes empowering women were included. We, tens of thousands of women, have raised our voices/risen up against abortion law, femicide, remissions to sentences and the and the ‘rape-law’.
We have pushed back the sexist pressures and achieved great gains. On the International Women’s Day and the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, with our female comrades all over the world, we have been out on streets to realize freedom, equality. We have raised the women’s rebellion to establish cohabitation.
As women from HDP; we have been the subjects of the fight for freedom and equality through historical experience, and the tradition of women’s liberation struggle.
We struggled to build the ‘New Life’ with the help of transforming power of women. We put women’s will and management style into practice in all areas of life by co-chairing and equally acting in all institutions, specifically within political parties and local governments.
We have not only pushed the AKP government back in June 7 elections, but also entered the parliament with 26 women MPs and established the first ‘Female Deputies Group’. We stood by the women of Rojava, [northern Syria] who have been struggling against ISIS selling women in slave markets, building female revolution step by step.
Consequently, the AKP government first attacked women, trying to destroy women’s achievements. Women who resisted were slain, their bodies exposed, detained, arrested.
Our Co-chair Figen Yüksekdağ, the Speaker of the Women’s Assembly Besime Konca and female MPs, DBP Co-chair Sebahat Tuncel, KJA spokeswoman Ayla Akat Ata, Diyarbakir Metropolitan Municipality Co-chair Gültan Kışanak, municipal co-chairs, municipal councilors, party executives and members were taken hostage through arrests.
Our elected local governments, representatives of the will of the people, were usurped by appointed trustees. The first thing these trustees did was to stop municipal practices pertaining to women.
‘Women Centers’ and ‘Violence Relief Lines’ were shut down, women’s directorates were abolished, and female employees were fired.
With statutory decrees issued during the state of emergency period, many female employees were fired; women’s associations, women’s cooperatives and news agencies were shut down. Attacks purging women from political life, working life, media, and social life have accelerated.
The AKP/palace ruling dictates how we should live each and every moment. They continuously talk and talk about how we should speak, how we should laugh and work, whether we should wear headscarves, how many children we should have.
In the environment of violence and hatred created by the war and militarist policies of the current government, we do not feel safe as women on the streets, buses, or on the metro trains, even in our homes and workplaces, for those who attack women can comfortably wander around.
Impunity leads to new violence practices every day. Femicides do not stop; everyday a woman is murdered by men.
Bombs fall on our lives; our daughters and sons have been losing their lives due to wars raged in the country and abroad. War and death are the only pledges of the government, while we, women, pledge to live and let live.
That is why we say NO to the politics of war and death. Once again we declare that we will provide permanent and fair peace through our struggle for equality and freedom.
We are getting poorer due to the economic policies that ignore the people but favour the interests of business and a handful of government cohorts!
The economic crisis deepens everyday. Our bread is getting smaller, our food diminishes with the price hikes coming one after the other. Unemployment is on the rise; we, the women, are the first on the firing line.
For these reasons we say NO to business-focused and war-oriented economic policies. Together we are going to build a secure new life in which we share what we produce on the basis of equality, a life in which the rights of labor is respected, a life in which the nature and life is protected.
They want to hand over the authority to a single person, as if it was not enough that they undermined our democratic rights and freedoms by using their power in an unlimited way during their 14 years of government.
Under the name of constitutional amendment, they are trying to make the regime that gives all power to one person, permanent.
Process of negotiating the constitutional amendment in the parliament was initiated by arrests of our co-chairs and our deputies. Later, the methods amounted to violence during the parliamentary sessions gave the clues about the type of administration they aimed.
Under the attacks of racist and misogynist hostility, the speeches of the members of the parliament were restricted, votes were carried out by orders, female deputies were physically attacked and the proposal was passed through the Assembly by force.
Now a vote awaits us all that will predestine all our future, polarize the society, deepen the war, enlarge the poverty, and purge women from every aspect of life. They call this freak a ‘Presidential System’, which actually is a ‘ONE MAN REGIME’.
This monist and authoritarian regime they intend to bring aims to make the rule of ‘state of emergency’ and ‘statutory decrees’ permanent by sustaining fascism, oppression and exploitation, based on hostility against women.
Power that can not be controlled by any other power is ‘absolute power’. History has also shown that all absolute powers are dictatorships. There is no democracy where everything is monist. This change aims at engulfing our existing rights and abolishing them as well.
We know that the ‘ONE MAN REGIME’ is even worse than junta legislation of September 12 1980 coup, and it is determined to institutionalize fascism.
However, they know us well, too. We, women, have not bowed to repression, and we will not. We are not giving up our achievements obtained through struggles. No matter how it is formulated, we as women have said ‘NO’ to fascism hidden behind epaulettes or neckties, we will continue to say ‘NO’.
We know how the centralization of legislative, executive and judiciary powers under under a single person poses a threat against the non-hegemonic and masterless ‘New Life’ we have been aiming to establish; making politics more male-dominated, reinforcing the sexist and nationalist structures and excluding women.
We will not allow this. We say ‘NO to both the ONE and the MAN regime’.
Women are the guarantee of pluralism, diversity, and different people living together in equality and respect. The ceaseless struggle of women for equality and freedom is at the same time the struggle of building A NEW LIFE. We will not allow ONE-MAN RULE to stand in the way of our hope, we say “NO”!
-Say NO to stop polarization, to stay friends with our neighbors
-Say NO for the responsibility we owe to those burned in Cizre basements, and those who were killed in the middle of the street by stray bullets
-Say NO for Taybet Ana
-Say NO to put a stop to rape and violence
-Say NO to put a stop to violence against women
-Say NO to the darkness of ISIS and its backward repressions being made law.
-Say NO to provide freedom of religious beliefs
-Say NO for our ways of life
-Say NO for our labor, our body, and our identity
-Say NO to the mentality of ‘obey and be comfortable’
-Say NO to serving others slavishly
-Say NO for equal representation, equal life
-Say NO for a safe future against the exploitation of labor and workers’ deaths
-Say NO for living together, for growing old together
-Say NO for local democracy
-Say NO for ecological life
-Say NO for nature, for our cities, for our villages to not be plundered
-Say NO for hope
-Say NO for smiling children and a peaceful future
-Say NO for peace, justice and freedom
-Say NO for a democratic republic, a common homeland, a new life
We are turning our faces to the sun – we are going house to house, square to square and calling women to the colour of the earth; on behalf of life in all its colors, we say NO.
With the spirit of resistance of March 8 [International Women’s Day] and the enthusiasm of [the Turkish Newroz festival], we are calling women to come together everywhere, in every language, hand in hand, to be the rainbow, to turn WINTER into SPRING.
Against all forms of hegemony; for the sake of equality, freedom, peace, hope and happiness, we are calling to build and organize in full force to say NO. This is our call…
Let us not forget that we succeeded on June 7 [see above]! We will succeed again. WE’LL DEFINITELY WIN
Peoples’ Democratic Party
February 5th, 2017
The Peoples’ Democracy Party (HDP) is a left-wing coalition in Turkey. Follow HDP on Twitter @HDPEnglish
Adam Barnett is staff writer for Left Foot Forward. Follow him on Twitter @AdamBarnett13Sign up to Left Foot Forward's weekday email for the latest progressive news and comment - and support campaigning journalism by making a donation today.