Muslim women’s rights group ‘abandoned’ by Turkish authorities


Muslim women in Turkey are “abandoning” the Muslim Brotherhood, which has been accused of “extremism” by the Turkish government, the group’s leader has said.

Sancakkar mosque, an Islamist organisation based in Istanbul, had previously held a peaceful demonstration to protest against the government’s crackdown on the group.

But on Sunday, protesters who had gathered to hold a rally at the mosque chanted slogans in support of the outlawed organisation, which denies any connection to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK).

The group, which holds rallies in cities across Turkey, has also been accused by authorities of links to the Kurdish militant group.

“Today, we decided to abandon Sancaksar mosque and we decided we are not going to continue with our efforts to make our voices heard and to create a situation of peace in Turkey,” Sancakiar, a leader of Sancakhars group, said in a statement published on Facebook.

“We will not stay here and we will not be part of any future demonstrations.”

In a separate interview with Al Jazeera, he said the mosque had been “abused and persecuted” by Turkish officials since 2015, and that he had “seen some changes in the past couple of months”.

Sanckars group said it would continue its protests against the crackdown.

Sancakar has been arrested on suspicion of organising a demonstration at Sancakular mosque on April 20, 2016, the anniversary of the attempted coup against President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, according to the Istanbul-based Antalya News Agency.

The mosque was subsequently shut down.

Turkish officials said they would not tolerate any violence at the group, and they said they had evidence that Sancakes group was a terrorist organisation.

Sancheks organisation said it had also been banned from holding rallies in the country.

But the government said it did not intend to revoke Sancakyar mosque’s permit and would not let it become a target for anyone.

Turkey has long been a stronghold of the PKK, which the government regards as a terrorist group.

Turkey has also seen a wave of violence and bombings targeting police and security forces.