February 22, 2015 7:38 pm

Men in miniskirts campaign for women’s rights in Turkey

Turkish men wearing skirts demonstrate in Istanbul, to support women's rights in memory of 20-year-old Ozgecan Aslan, who was murdered after she resisted an alleged attempted rape in the southern city of Mersin, on February 21, 2015.

AFP PHOTO/BULENT KILIC
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Men across Turkey wore miniskirts at protests over the weekend as part of a campaign supporting women’s rights following the brutal murder of a young woman.

Ozgecan Aslan, 20, was on an empty minibus on Feb. 11 after shopping with friends when she was attacked and killed by the bus driver after fighting back against an alleged rape attempt.

The psychology student was stabbed and beaten by the bus driver, Suphi Altindoken, 26, who later confessed that he killed Aslan and mutilated her body. Police arrested Altindoken, his father, and one other man who are believed to have helped burn and then hide Aslan’s body.

Turkish men wearing skirts demonstrate in Istanbul, to support women’s rights in memory of 20-year-old Ozgecan Aslan, who was murdered after she resisted an alleged attempted rape in the southern city of Mersin, on February 21, 2015.

AFP PHOTO/BULENT KILIC

Massive demonstrations have been held across Turkey in the wake of the killing, and on Saturday men were seen wearing skirts at rallies held in Istanbul and Ankara.

The skirts are part of a growing social media campaign in Turkey aimed at highlighting the country’s failure to protect women from violence. In recent days the hashtag #ozgecanicinminietekgiy, translated as “wear a miniskirt for Ozgecan,” has begun circulating accompanied with a photo of a man wearing a short skirt.

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Turkish President Recep Erdogan, who condemned Aslan’s murder, has been criticized for claiming at an event that men and women are not equal. “You cannot put women and men on an equal footing. It is against nature. They were created differently. Their nature is different. Their constitution is different,” he said at a meeting on women and justice last November.

Representatives from U.N. Women and UNFPA issued a joint statement last week condemning Aslan’s death, saying more needs to be done in the country to protect women.

“Notwithstanding the progress in Turkish legislation and institutional structuring, recent data on violence against women shows insignificant improvement since 2008 and violence against women is still pervasive with two out of every five women in Turkey exposed to sexual and physical violence,” the statement read. “Violence against women has serious consequences for the victims but it also negatively affects families, the community and the country at large.”

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