By Zehra Melek Cat
The members of the women’s branches of Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development (AK) party Sunday held simultaneous rallies across the country to show their support to an international UN day on violence against women.
Thousands of women of all ages marched to draw an "orange line" against violence on women on Nov. 25 International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women.
In Istanbul, the country's most populous city, the women gathered near Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality with orange balloons, holding banners saying: "Nonviolent communication", "Society grows stronger with women empowerment." Then, they moved towards Sarachane Park in Fatih district.
Seyma Dogucu, the head of the Women's Branch of AK Party in Istanbul, said in her statement that they gathered to raise awareness to prevent violence on women.
"We are against all sorts of violence in the world, not just the one on women; our ancient culture and tradition don't favor violence on women.
"We don't want violence and women to be included in the same sentence anymore as these words get into the mind of our children," she asserted.
The Women's Branch of AK Party in Ankara held a press conference in the provincial presidency. Mualla Varol, the branch head in Ankara, said that violence against women occurred anywhere in the world and domestic violence was the most common practice.
"We should remember what Prophet Muhammad, who was the pioneer of spreading a humanitarian message to the world regardless of gender, said hundreds of years ago, even before the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was written: 'God doesn't pity those not pitying humans.'
"Our religion, which forbids bad practices against humanity, will surely not favor a bad attitude towards women and girls," she said.
Speaking in Izmir, western Turkey, AK Party Izmir lawmaker Ceyda Bolunmez said that she was a member of a party that had always attached importance to women empowerment.
The rallies were also held in many other provinces such as Adana, Mugla, Osmaniye, Mersin, Hatay, Bursa, Eskisehir, Yalova, Canakkale, Balikesir, Samsun and Sakarya.