An Islamist group marched around İstanbul’s iconic Taksim Square following Turkish President Erdoğan accused a women’s march of disrespecting Islam, because the marchers were shouting slogans during the Azan, the Islamic call to prayer.
Several thousand women who gathered in central İstanbul on March 8 for a night march faced tear gas fired by police to disperse the crowd.
Talking on March 10 at an election rally of his ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), Erdoğan showed video footage from the women’s march, showing them chanting slogans while marching nearby a mosque that was reciting the call to prayer. “They disrespected the Azan by slogans, booing and whistling,” Erdoğan told his supporters during his party’s rally ahead of the elections on March 31.
“They are directly attacking our independence and future, disrespecting our flag and prayer,” Erdoğan said, targeting the marchers.
Following Erdoğan’s statements against the women, an Islamist group took to the streets near Taksim Square on late Sunday so as to “protest” the women’s rally of March 8. The crowd faced police barricades whilst chanting Islamic slogans against the participants of women’s meeting.
Numan Kurtulmuş, the deputy chair of AKP, also targeted the women. “This footage insults at our nation. This is unacceptable,” he said today. Devlet Bahçeli, the leader of the fascist Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) and the supporter of Erdoğan’s government, echoed Erdoğan’s statement by saying “This is tactlessness, this is immorality, this is vandalism” against the marching women.
Meanwhile, Diyanet-Sen, a union of the employees of Turkey’s Directorate of Religious Affairs, released a terrorizing statement, calling on the authorities to take legal action against the participants of women’s rally under the pretext of “inciting people to hatred and enmity”.