There are increasing fears of violence on the streets, particularly at night and especially against women. Yeniduzen interviewed a number of owners and workers at businesses that were open late. They related their anxieties about the possibility of them or their staff being accosted by a drunk on the streets or drunks cruising in their cars.
Other issues are poor street lighting and the lack of public transport. A woman who works at a cafe until midnight said that public transport only operated until 7pm and taking a taxi was out of the question because it was too expensive.
A male cafe worker who comes from Turkey and works until late into the evening said that there had been a number of incidents at night. He blamed Turks from the mainland for most of these. There should be patrols in the streets at night, he added.
A female cafe manager said that these kinds of events never used to happen. The situation has changed a lot, especially in recent years. She said, “At the moment, …..more people have come to harass the other person even with their looks, and this situation makes me very uncomfortable. I don’t know what the reason for this is, but there is definitely an increase”.
A male cafe owner said that he didn’t want to be sexist but he would never let a two female workers work alone at night and there always had to be a male worker present for security.
Meral Akıncı, the President of the Association for Life Support for Women (KAYAD), said that there was an increasing amount of hate speech and violent acts in the country. This situation was disturbing to both men and women, but particularly for women, she said.
Women in particular are viewed as a ‘sexual object’ on the street. “Women are treated humiliatingly“, Akıncı said. She noted that incidents of harassment had increased especially during the pandemic period, Akıncı continued: “Everyone has seen that there is now gender inequality and that the streets are unsafe for women rather than men. The perception of seeing women as sexual objects is becoming more and more established day by day, and many women cannot speak up because of their economic situation and the pressures they experience. A woman’s fear of walking alone on the street is due to the violence she has been exposed to for so long”.
Akıncı also referred to a recent event when a ‘woman was raped while hitchhiking’. She said that mostly students were hitching lifts, and commented that “the reason why they are forced to hitchhike is the lack of public transportation or the inability of people to pay for taxis“.