Protesters March on Turkish Parliament
September 16, 2004
ANKARA (AFP)—Waving banners and
chanting slogans, about 400 demonstrators marched peacefully on the Turkish
Parliament on Tuesday to protest against proposed legislation to make adultery
a criminal offence.
The demonstrators, mostly women, but also members of
human and gay rights groups, gathered on a warm, sunny day on a pedestrian
street near the capital’s ministries area before beginning their march on
the nearby parliament, where deputies were to debate the bill from 3:00 p.m.
(1200 GMT). The rally called by several feminist NGOs advanced toward the
sprawling complex unhindered by police, chanting, “Our bodies are ours,
hands off !”, “Deputies, end violence (against women), forget about
adultery,” one banner read.
Several demonstrators carried photographs of women
victims of “honour crimes”, killed by their spouses or families to protect
the family name. Banners showed that the demonstrators had come from as far
afield as Istanbul, in the northwest of the country, Adana in the south and
Batman, in the southeast.
The penal code reform bill, which aims to dismantle the
current, 78-year-old legislation modelled on that of fascist Italy, also aims
to ease Turkey’s entry into the European Union. But that could backfire if
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s Justice and Development Party (AKP)
goes ahead with its plan to introduce a clause making adultery a jailable