Established in 2010 after the murder of Münevver Karabulut, the We Will Stop Femicide Platform (KCDP) has been of the most active role-players of the women’s movement in Turkey for the last 12 years. They make monthly reports on femicide data, follow up on the lawsuits concerning violence against the LGBTI+ community and women, and take their outcry unrelentingly to the streets. The Platform was sued on December 8th, 2021, on the allegation that it “carried out illegal and immoral activities.” The prosecution demands the dissolution of the organization as the outcome of the trial. The first hearing will be held on June 1st, 2022.
The We Will Stop Femicide Platform (KCDP) was founded in 2010 with the participation of many LGBTI+ and women’s organizations. Among its founders were also friends and family of femicide victims, and women that had experienced violence. The Platform carried out its first march in August of 2010 and became an association in 2012.
The KCDP carried out weekly marches in the first few years after its foundation, which became regular monthly marches later on. They tried to be present wherever femicide happened, with carnations in their hands and a smiling photograph of the woman that was murdered.
In the year that the Platform was founded, it requested from the government the data for murdered women in Turkey. Their aim was to identify the magnitude of the problem and its causes and to follow and analyze its course. However, the answer they received was that “there was no such data”. This initiated the Platform to prepare its monthly reports of femicide data. The data is derived from events reported to the public and information from the close contacts of the murdered women who reach the Platform directly. The analyzed data is released to the public on a monthly basis. With the increase in murders that are manipulated to seem like accidents or suicides, the Platform has added the category of “suspicious femicides” to its reports from 2018 onwards.
Alongside the ministry and women’s organizations, the Platform was an active participant in the preparation process of Law no. 6284, which was enacted in 2012. In 2013, they proposed an amendment of the Turkish Penal Code (KCK) to the Grand National Assembly of Turkey (TBMM) to address the discriminatory sentence reductions offered to the defendants of femicide cases. This proposal came to be known as the “Özgecan Law” after the murder of Özgecan Aslan. The Platform tried to enforce the Istanbul Convention for gender equality and anti-violence.
The Platform first started to follow up on trials with the Münevver Karabulut case. In the beginning, they were only tracking femicide trials. Currently, they follow trials regarding all types of violence against women and LGBTI+ individuals, and child abuse cases.
The Platform has a phone line and a WhatsApp account that both operate 24/7. They determine needs, coordinate actions within their capacity, and help women claim their rights based on the calls they receive for counsel and support.
The We Will Stop Femicide Platform (KCDP) made the call for the “Don’t Mess With My Outfit” march in 2017, in response to the frequent attacks on women for wearing shorts. A decision was made to establish a Women’s Assembly during the forum that took place after the march. Before long, they set up assemblies in 76 cities. The assemblies are involved in an organized and political struggle to ensure gender equality and prevent any kind of discrimination against LGBTI+ individuals. They hold educational workshops, seminars, and press statements.
In 2019, the dance protest held by the feminist organization Las Tesis in front of the Ministry of Women and Gender Equality for Chile was echoed in various countries including Turkey, with the same slogans. The Women’s Assemblies made a call on Sunday, December 8th, 2019, to realize the same demonstration in Kadıköy. As the performance - attended by hundreds of women - was coming to an end, the police seized their sound equipment. Six women chanting slogans of “We Will Stop Femicide” and “You Will Never Walk Alone” as they were dispersing were detained with rear handcuffs on the preamble of there being “overwhelming evidence of offense regarding unlawful assembly after having been warned to disperse, the possible threat of this offense to public order, and to the safety and well-being of people.” Among the detainees were the Platform’s General Secretary Fidan Ataselim, Platform representative Ayşen Ece Kavas, and member Sevda Yeniköylü. During her detention, Ataselim, the presenter of the performance, was verbally harassed by the police, and Ayşen Ece Kavas was assaulted.
The preparation of a lawsuit against KCDP for its dissolution initiated on December 2nd, 2021, only made headlines 5 months later. The case contained denouncements made to the Presidency's Directorate of Communications (BİMER) regarding the social media posts of KCDP about the arrests of women politicians Figen Yüksekdağ and Gültan Kışanak of HDP, on 7-8 November 2016. Although they seemed to be made by unrelated individuals, it was understood that the denunciations were prepared by a singular party. They contained allegations that KCDP was working to destroy the family structure and was defending the members of terrorist organizations, and demanded the dissolution of KCDP under the State of Emergency Measures (OHAL).
On March 29th, 2018, it was unveiled that the Istanbul Governorship Directorate of Associations had applied to the Public Prosecutor of Istanbul to dissolve KCDP. The application presented the fact that a member of the platform had also been a member of the Libertarian Lawyers Association (Özgürlükçü Hukukçular Derneği) - which had been shut down under the Statutory Decree (KHK) - as a “deviation from the purpose of the association, and the illegal and immoral diversion from its mission.”
On December 2nd, 2021, the Intellectual and Property Rights Investigation Bureau of the Istanbul Public Prosecutor’s Office prepared a lawsuit in accordance with article 30/a of the Law on Associations and article 89 of the Turkish Civil Code, for the dissolution of the KCDP. Based on the warrants referenced in the article by the Governorship of Istanbul dated August 9th, 2021, the lawsuit demands to dissolve the KCDP on the grounds that “the full extent of the case has shown a display of illegal and immoral actions against the cause and regulations of the association, and disobedience of article 30 of the Law on Associations which decrees that associations are not allowed to pursue activities that do not serve the mission stated in their code of conduct.” On December 8th, 2021, The 13th Court of First Instance of Istanbul filed a claim to dissolve the KCDP.
The first hearing of the case was held on 1 June 2022. Before the hearing, a statement was made in front of the Çağlayan courthouse. While the banner "We Will Stop Femicide Platform Association will not be closed with unlawful lawsuits" was opened in the courthouse, the slogans "You will never walk alone" and "We will stop femicides" were chanted frequently.
The second hearing was held on October 5, 2022. The families of the women killed in the trial were heard as witnesses. The court decided to issue an invitation for the relatives of the murdered women who wanted to be heard as witnesses. The court rejected the requests of women's associations to involve the case and decided to hold the next hearing on January 11, 2023, at 11 am. However, the third hearing was postponed due to the judge's health problems.
At the hearing on March 5, 2023, lawyers from the Association for Combating Sexual Violence, Istanbul Bar Association, SPoD, Human Rights Foundation of Turkey, Ankara Bar Association, Ankara Bar Association LGBTI+ Commission, Ankara Bar Association Women's Rights Center, Istanbul Women's Organizations Union, and Freedom of Expression Association submitted their requests for intervention. Announcing its interim decision, the court rejected all requests to join the case. The case was adjourned to September 13, 2023.
At the fourth hearing on September 13, the lawsuit filed for the closure of KCDP was rejected by the court. The prosecutor's office did not object to the reasoned decision announced after the rejection decision, and thus the rejection decision regarding the closure case against the association became final.