Turkey officially terminates Treaty to Prevent Violence against Women


Activists shout slogans, hold banners and wave flags during a protest against Turkey’s withdrawal from the Istanbul Convention, an international agreement for the protection of women, in Istanbul, Turkey, June 19, 2021. REUTERS / Umit Bektas / File Photo

  • Erdogan shocked the US and the EU by announcing the withdrawal in March
  • Ankara says women are protected by law, not the Istanbul Convention
  • Thousands are protesting across Turkey where femicides are high
  • Council of Europe concerned about homophobic narratives

ANKARA, July 1 (Reuters) – Turkey officially withdrew from an international treaty preventing violence against women on Thursday, adopting a decision condemned by many Turks and Western allies when President Tayyip Erdogan announced it in March gave.

Thousands have protested across Turkey where a trial to end the withdrawal was denied this week. Continue reading

“We will continue our fight,” said Canan Gullu, president of the Union of Turkish Women’s Associations, on Wednesday. “Turkey shoots itself in the leg with this decision.”

She said women and other vulnerable groups have been more reluctant to ask for help and are less likely to accept it since March, as economic hardship from COVID-19 led to a dramatic increase in violence against them.

Negotiated in Turkey’s largest city and signed in 2011, the Istanbul Convention required its signatories to prevent and prosecute domestic violence and promote equality.

Ankara’s withdrawal sparked condemnation from both the United States and the European Union, and critics say it has left Turkey even further out of step with the bloc it requested in 1987.

Femicides have grown dramatically in Turkey, with a surveillance group logging about one per day for the past five years.

Proponents of the Convention and its related laws say that stricter implementation is needed. Continue reading

But many conservatives in Turkey and in Erdogan’s Islamist AK party say the pact undermines the family structures that protect society.

Some also see the Convention as promoting homosexuality through its principle of non-discrimination based on sexual orientation.

“The withdrawal of our country from the convention will not lead to any legal or practical defects in the prevention of violence against women,” said Erdogan’s office to the administrative court on Tuesday.

This month, Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights Dunja Mijatovic sent a letter to Turkey’s interior and justice ministers expressing concern over the rise in homophobic narratives by some officials, some of whom were anti-convention.

“All the measures provided for in the Istanbul Convention strengthen family formation and connections by preventing and combating the main cause of family destruction, namely violence,” she said.

Letter from Daren Butler; Editing by Jonathan Spicer and Kevin Liffey

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