30th Mar 2023

EU frowns at Turkey for police riot against women

The police reaction against women protesting in Turkey over the weekend is likely to dominate today's International Women's Day debates in the European Parliament, after several EU representatives condemned the events.

Sunday's (6 March) riot in Istanbul came just hours before a high level EU visit to Turkey, set to discuss issues related with membership talks, which are scheduled to start in October.

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EU enlargement commissioner Olli Rehn, Luxembourg Foreign Minister Jean Asselborn and British Europe minister Denis MacShane issued a statement expressing their concern over the "disproportionate force" used against the demonstrators.

"We were shocked by images of the police beating women and young people demonstrating in Istanbul", they stated, adding, "We condemn all violence, as demonstrations must be peaceful."

President of the European Parliament Josep Borrel also condemned the Turkish police action, suggesting that "such suppression was not helpful to Turkey's application for EU membership".

The leader of the Socialist group, Martin Schultz stated, "The police behaviour demonstrates the gulf that exists between the official position that reforms are underway and the reality of life on the ground".

He welcomed the determination of the Turkish authorities to prevent similar scenes and investigate the events of Sunday.

Violence and discrimination against women in the EU

Violence against women - especially in families - is still present also in the EU member states, and it will be under the spotlight during the second day of the March session of the European Parliament in Strasbourg.

Statistics show that one woman in five in the EU has suffered violence by her male partner, while 25 percent of all violent crimes reported in Europe involve a man assaulting his wife or partner.

The new EU Constitution - currently in process of ratification - explicitly mentions domestic violence and obliges the member states to take measures to prevent and properly punish it as a criminal act.

Social affairs commissioner Vladimir Spidla is set to announce the details of the European Gender Institute, aimed at monitoring gender-related discrimination across Europe, and evaluating initiatives aspiring to curb it.

While the gaps in access to education and jobs between men and women are on the decrease, the gender pay gap has not changed significantly over the past years in the EU, remaining at 15 percent.

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