[Brussels, 12 September 2017] On 5 July 2017, 10 rights’ defenders, including Women’s Coalition member, İlknur Üstün , one of the founding members of the EWL Coordination for Turkey, were detained near Istanbul while at a civilian society training session. The rights defenders that are now imprisoned, are not alone! All rights defenders must be released immediately! Our President Edith Schratzberger-Vecsei wrote İlknur a letter of support.
I am writing in solidarity and sisterhood on behalf of the 51 members of the European Women’s Lobby, all our feminist staff, members and activists across Europe.
We are all shocked and dismayed to hear of your unjust imprisonment in Turkey and wanted to let you know that we are all thinking of you and sending our very best wishes that you are being treated well. We hope that you know that we are all thinking of you, and are working with your friends and sisters across Turkey and throughout Europe to demand your fair treatment and speedy release.
We are forever grateful for the extraordinary contribution that you have made to the European Women’s Lobby, and to the fight for women’s rights and gender equality in Turkey and internationally. Your support and dedication to diversity and instituting democracy for women at the local level has been an inspiration to many at EWL.
Your tireless efforts and energy enabled the EWL coordination in Turkey to become so established countrywide. Many organisations wanted to be in the Coordination because of your pioneering spirit and excellent and respectable reputation. EWL Turkey has remained one of our most active members, thanks in part to the very transparent structure, which you established from the start.
We look forward to celebrating your release and to having you back in our midst very soon.
President, European Women’s Lobby