14th May 2021

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.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

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.

MEPs call for workers to have 'right to disconnect'

MEPs called for a new law guaranteeing workers can 'disconnect' outside work hours, without repercussion. But they also passed a last-minute amendment, calling on the commission to delay any legislation for three years.

EU rolls out vaccine, as UK-variant spreads

Most EU member states began rolling out the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine against Covid-19 on Sunday, as a more contagious variant from the UK begins to spread on the continent.

News in Brief

  1. No EUobserver newsletter on Friday 14 May
  2. Germany stops Facebook gathering WhatsApp data
  3. Italy rebuts reports of EU deal with Libya
  4. MEPs demand EU states protect women's reproductive rights
  5. At least nine dead in Russia school shooting
  6. Bulgaria interim government appointed until July election
  7. German priests defy pope to bless same-sex couples
  8. New EU public prosecutor faults Slovenia


Sweden's non-lockdown didn't work - why not?

The Swedish king would have been better advised to use his annual Christmas interview to call for unity of purpose and shed light on the political roots of the country's response.


BioNTech: Stop talking about their 'migration background'

I understand that the German-Turkish community - often subjected to condescension in Germany - celebrated the story. Uğur Şahin and Özlem Türecki represent scientific excellence and business success at the highest level.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Council enters into formal relations with European Parliament
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersWomen more active in violent extremist circles than first assumed
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersDigitalisation can help us pick up the green pace
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersCOVID19 is a wake-up call in the fight against antibiotic resistance
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersThe Nordic Region can and should play a leading role in Europe’s digital development
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Council to host EU webinars on energy, digitalisation and antibiotic resistance

Latest News

  1. EU aims at 'zero pollution' in air, water and soil by 2050
  2. French police arrest Luxembourg former top spy
  3. Vaccine drives spur better-than-expected EU economic recovery
  4. Slovenia causing headaches for new EU anti-graft office
  5. 'No place to hide' in Gaza, as fighting escalates
  6. EU chases 90m AstraZeneca vaccines in fresh legal battle
  7. Fidesz MEP oversees FOI appeals on disgraced Fidesz MEP
  8. Belgium outlines summer Covid relaxation plans

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us