Is Turkey`s Withdrawing from Istanbul Convention?

Is Turkey`s Withdrawing from Istanbul Convention?
18 August 2020 | Virtual Discussion 

Set Them Free discussed Turkey`s withdrawal from Istanbul Convention on August 18, 2020 with Journalists Sevinc Ozarslan, STF Board Members Lawyer Vera Guzelsoy and Psychologist Hatice Kubra Donmez Sarihan. 

The Council of Europe Convention on Preventing and Combating Violence Against Women and Domestic Violence, known as the Istanbul Convention, is a landmark human rights treaty focused on four pillars of prevention, protection, prosecution and co-ordinated policies to protect women and girls from all forms of domestic violence. 

Lately, Turkish authorities have been discussing withdrawing from the Istanbul Convention with groundless claims arguing that the articles of the treaty are against the traditional Turkish family norms. Lawyer Vera Guzelsoy talked about the importance of the domestic implementation of the Istanbul Convention to protect women and girls from domestic violence. Journalist Sevinc Ozarslan put an importance emphasis on the record number of femicide in Turkey and underlined that full implementation of the Convention is necessary to combat all sorts of gender-based violence against women. 

Cage Free Voices Radio Podcast: Refugee Children, Migration and Integration

Cage Free Voices Radio Podcast: Refugee Children, Migration and Integration
15 August 2020 | YouTube Panel Discussion

On August 15, 2020 Set Them Free partnered with the Cage Free Voices to organize a youth panel discussion on the occasion of the UN World Refugee Day to talk about the challenges that refugee children encounter, their migration experience and the successful integration processes. 

Set Them Free and Cage Free Voices organized a virtual panel discussion on the occasion of the UN World Refugee Day to share the stories of the refugee children, the challenges that they faced in their journey to a new homeland, their migration experience and the integration processes. 

In this virtual youth event, Makayla Calhoun and Alistair Berry, Cage Free Voices students,  interviewed Zeynep Girdap and Yusuf Burak Akay, volunteers of Set Them Free. Zeynep and Yusuf Burak had to leave Turkey after the failed coup-attempt of July 2016 as their families  faced systemic discrimination, and social persecution.

Women`s Contributions to Combatting Racism and Discrimination 

Women`s Contributions to Combatting Racism and Discrimination 

3 August 2020 | YouTube Panel Discussion 

On August 3, 2020, Set Them Free organized a YouTube panel discussion on the “Women’s Contributions to Combating Racism and Discrimination” bringing women from different ethnical and religious backgrounds together to discuss their personal experiences with the racism and/or discrimination, and underline how can women contribute to combatting this worldwide injustice by offering perspectives from their own view points. 

The protests since the killing of George Floyd has, once again, have left our global community outraged at the injustice that racism and discrimination on the basis of ethnicity, religion and culture causes to hinder the culture of peace. We, the human rights organizations, women’s rights initiatives should speak up, share our experiences, stand in solidarity and advocate for an inclusive global society. We must continue to combat any kind of systemic racism and discrimination. Equality and peace are interlinked to one another to foster inclusive societies. Women, as a stakeholder of development, have a very important role in peacebuilding. 

 At the “Women`s Role in Combating Systematic Racism and Discrimination” virtual discussion, experts elaborated on variety of topics moderated by Dr. Sophia Pandya, a Professor and Department Chair of Religious Studies at the California State University at Long Beach, California. Shea Graham, a Licensed Psychotherapist at Shea Graham LCSW, informed the audience on the psychological roots to racist behavior and discussed how we can respond more effectively to these causes. Graham said regardless of our differences “we are so close to each other that when my city burns, the smoke will hit your neighborhood. We need to realize that our faiths are tied to each other.” 

Following her remarks, Vera Guzelsoy, a lawyer and a data scientist, discussed the current situation of forced Turkish migrants, who had to leave their homeland to escape persecution and discrimination created by the Erdogan`s government. Guzelsoy said persecuted individuals do not have freedom but we have; so, we have to speak up on behalf of them. She also added that in today’s world, populizm is as dangerous as discrimination. 

Ellen Stromberg, the Regional Co-Coordinator of Sisterhood Salaam Shalom, talked about important contribution of sisterhood in combating discrimination. Stromberg said “I think there is a strong call for women to stand up for each other, to fight against the systemic racism that prevents quality housing, quality education and quality housing. I would like to think that building a strong coalition of women from many different communities, many different cultures can collectively speak out and find common actionable items that would make a difference. It won’t be easy but it is possible.”

Last speaker of the panel, Eylul Gunduz, a PhD student at the Dalhousie University, talked about the systemic discrimination that Kurdis people face in Turkey. She informed the audience with her own observations from the eastern and western region of Turkey to elaborate on the violence against Kurdish women in Turkey. Gunduz said Kurdish women`s coping mechanism against the discrimination they face is to strentghen their community gatherings and practice their culture.