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1987 is a year which holds special importance for the women’s movement. This year, and for the first time in Turkey, a group of feminists organised a resistance campaign against male violence. A judge in Çankırı turned down a woman’s claim for divorce saying ‘a little ‘whip’ on the back or on the belly is of no harm to women’.


This decision marked the beginning of many actions. An organisation was created at this time under the name ‘Solidarity against women’s violence’ , which set up many initiatives that would undermine the dominating male mentality. The announcement of these actions united for the first time all the feminist claims in 1980s . Between 1981-1984 women via Yazko, started to talk about feminism and to prepare an article for the Somut magazine. In April 1984 ‘The women’s entourage’ was founded and books by some feminist writers started to receive some recognition in Turkey . Then the campaign started. Many campaigns followed the March 1986 campaign for the adoption of the UN Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women, namely, the 1989 Purple Needle Campaign, movements such as ‘We own our body’ in 1990 and, of course, the campaign ‘Solidarity against women’s violence’ . These were the main efforts in the fight for women’s liberation. The judge’s decision in Çankırı, which became the reason for the formation of ‘The Solidarity against women’s violence’ , showed clearly that men’s domination extended to the judiciary. First of all, they telegraphed protests to the court appealing for a trial against the decision that showed how violence against women was considered legal. The women who protested against this decision were not considered as ‘equals’ within the legal system. However, the fight against the system that legalised this decision and violence against women continued to grow and women continued to meet in heated gatherings. A meeting was held in the Yoğurtçu Park in 1987 involving almost 2500 women, with slogans such as ‘We don’t want the paradise of violence’, ‘Women! Solidarity against violence’, ‘There is no legal violence’; ‘Violence is the reason to escape from home’.


The campaign held on October 4th 1987 in the garden of the Kariye Museum in Edirnekapı was a very special one. During this meeting discussions were held and people sang songs and put on theatre shows. The Transitional Modern Woman’s Museum, which was opened in Cağaloğlu, highlighted many of the difficult aspects of women’s everyday life, such as the underestimated amount of housework, various unappreciated drudgeries and menstruation. In the same year, the book ‘Scream so that everyone listens’ was published, a collective work based on the personal experiences of women. A solidarity network was created due to the large number of female victims of violence who needed the support of doctors and lawyers. In January 1989 a telephone helpline was created offering legal and practical support for victims of violence. As the solidarity network was unable to meet the needs of these women, the need for a women’s shelter soon became clear. In 1990 the ‘Mor Çatı Women’s Shelter Foundation’ was created in order to continue consultations with women and to strengthen the fight against domestic violence.

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