Turkey formally withdraws from treaty to prevent violence against women

Turkey officially withdrew from an international treaty to prevent violence against women on Thursday, issuing a decision condemned by many Turks and Western allies when President Tayyip Erdogan announced it in March.

Thousands were set to protest across Turkey, where a court appeal to halt the withdrawal was rejected this week.

“We will continue our struggle,” Canan Gullu, president of the Federation of Turkish Women’s Associations, said on Wednesday. “Turkey is shooting itself in the foot with this decision.”

She said that since March, women and other vulnerable groups have been more reluctant to ask for help and less likely to receive it, as COVID-19 created economic difficulties that sparked a dramatic increase in violence against them.

The Istanbul Convention, negotiated in Turkey’s largest city and signed in 2011, has committed its signatories to preventing and prosecuting domestic violence and promoting equality.

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

Femicide has skyrocketed in Turkey, with a monitoring group cutting down about one a day for the past five years.

Stricter implementation needed

Proponents of the treaty and related legislation say stricter implementation is needed.

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

Some also view the Convention as promoting homosexuality through the principle of non-discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.

“Our country’s withdrawal from the convention will not lead to any legal or practical shortcomings in the prevention of violence against women,” Erdogan’s office said in a statement to the administrative court.

This month, Dunja Mijatovic, the Council of Europe’s Human Rights Commissioner, sent a letter to Turkey’s interior and justice ministers expressing concern about an increase in homophobic stories by some officials, some of which were targeting the convention. .

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

(REUTERS)

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