Journalists Union of Turkey Women’s Commission: “We Will Not Succumb to Male or State Violence!”

Source: “Erkek/Devlet Şiddetine Boyun Eğmeyeceğiz!” (“We Will Not Succumb to Male or State Violence!”), 03 January 2014, http://www.tgs.org.tr/erkekdevlet-siddetine-boyun-egmeyecegiz/

To the press and public;

The police continue to use violence against not only citizens who want to practise their democratic right to protest, but also towards journalists who work for the public’s right to obtain information. As female and LGBTI journalists, we get our share of this male/ police/ state violence. We get injured, battered, prevented from doing our work, and we are subjected to sexist insults and harassment.

Birgün correspondent Elçin Yıldıral was injured after getting hit by a gas capsule in the arm during the urban rights demonstration of 22 December 2013 in the Kadıköy district of Istanbul. Özgür Gelecek (Free Future) correspondent Songül Araç was shot in the eye with a rubber bullet while she was recording. If she had not been wearing glasses at the time, she could have lost her eye.

Furthermore, during the protests against corruption on 27 December 2013 at Taksim Square, our female and LGBTI colleagues were the targets of police violence. Radikal correspondent Elif İnce, Etkin News Agency (ETHA) correspondent Yıldız Tar and freelance journalist Berna Yılmaz were injured by rubber bullets. ETHA correspondent İsminaz Ergün’s camera was damaged.

Police threatened our colleague and IMC correspondent Michelle Demishevich by choking her and telling her “I’m going to kill you!” because she protested the police’s practise of taking journalists’ photographs to record them. As if that was not enough, they punched a female colleague of ours in the chest.

Female and LGBTI journalists, who work under extremely difficult conditions for the sake of public’s right to obtain information, were once again subjected to sexist insults of the police. The police tried to stop them from videotaping and our colleagues have been marked and recorded by the police.

Enough! We are calling out to the police and their administrative superiors!

Apparently, you do not want the violence you use against people who practise their constitutional rights to protest the government, corruption, raids, and plundering of their living spaces to be recorded and reported. You do not want the truth to come out into the open.

You assumed you could prevent us- female and LGBTI journalists- from doing our jobs by using force, harassment, insult, and threats.

However, you are wrong!

We do not have any intention to succumb to male or state violence or remain silent! No matter what you do, we will be on the streets to film, to photograph, and to report for the public’s right to obtain information. We will keep writing the truth.

With our pens, our cameras, our voices, our labour and all our strength we will keep fighting male and state violence at home, in the workplaces, on the streets, in the media and in every field of life.

We respectfully submit this information to the public.

The Women’s Commission of the Journalists Union of Turkey

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