The statements of Hasan Köni, a professor at the İstanbul Kültür University, which reveal the desires and anguish of some Turkish men about Ukrainian refugees, are causing a stir in Turkey.
Speaking to Habertürk about the refugee crisis caused by the Russia-Ukraine war, Köni said Europe could not handle the problem, saying the number of refugees would reach 1.5 million.
And somewhere there, in the course of his speech, he provocatively and unacceptably stated:
"Of course, our men are waiting for the Ukrainian [women] to come, but unfortunately they are going to Europe."
Realising his nonsense, he then tried to "patch" them, saying that what he claimed was a "poetic license", causing outrage on social media.
Prof. Dr. Hasan Köni:
"Bizim erkekler Ukraynalıların gelmesini bekliyor. Ama maalesef Avrupaya gidiyorlar." pic.twitter.com/Kf8bEP4us4
— Politic Türk (@politicturk) March 6, 2022
Turkish activists say that by withdrawing from the Istanbul Convention, a 2011 landmark agreement of the Council of Europe outlining how to ensure the safety of women, Turkey has given up on a roadmap it was the first country to endorse.
On November 9, Basak Cengiz was walking down a street in Istanbul’s Atasehir district when a man wielding a samurai sword walked up behind her, and without saying a word, began to stab her repeatedly, continuing after she fell to the sidewalk and died.
Cengiz, 28, was a promising architect who had moved from Ankara to Istanbul to pursue her career and had recently become engaged to be married.
The suspected killer, when questioned by police about why he killed Cengiz, said he was simply out to kill someone.
“I went out and picked a woman because I thought it would be easier,” he said.
In the days since the murder, a succession of political leaders, including President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, have paid visits to the Cengiz family to offer their condolences.
Officials have promised justice, but for Erdogan’s critics, the government is partly to blame for such violence.
“Cengiz was killed because regulations protecting women are not implemented adequately in Turkey, because killing women is easy in Turkey,” Gulsum Kav, co-founder of the We Will Stop Femicide platform, told Al Jazeera.
“Turkey is unfortunately not becoming a country where the violence problem is solved, it is becoming a country where murders are increasing,” said Kav.
“The primary reason is that women are not adequately protected, and also I believe the withdrawal from the protective (Istanbul) convention," he added.
The Convention was a product of years of study by experts on gender-based violence and puts forth a comprehensive set of guidelines preventing and effectively punishing violence against women.
Turkey became the first country to sign it in 2011, but withdrew from it in 2021.
Turkey’s official reason for withdrawing from the Istanbul Convention, officials have said, was its alleged normalisation of homosexuality.
“The Istanbul Convention, originally intended to promote women’s rights, was hijacked by a group of people attempting to normalise homosexuality – which is incompatible with [Turkey’s] social and family values,” the president’s communications office said in a statement in March after Erdogan’s withdrawal decree.
Officials in Erdogan’s government have often taken issue with what they see as the “normalisation” of LGBTQ identities, censoring television shows, and banning what used to be the Islamic world’s largest annual Gay Pride march.
The withdrawal was the culmination of years of lobbying by activists like Adem Cevik, spokesperson for the Turkish Family Council, an NGO that advocates repealing much of the country’s current domestic violence laws.
Cevik says he takes particular issue with the Istanbul Convention’s emphasis on women as victims, and its broad mandate to end all forms of discrimination, which, according to the text of the agreement, includes discrimination based on “sexual orientation” and “gender identity”.
The long term goal of the Istanbul Convention, Cevik says, was part of a Western plot to “eliminate the family and eliminate gender altogether”.
“There are victims of violence among both men and women, we are not only advocating for men, but for rights and justice for everyone, both men and women, and children,” he told Al Jazeera.