Turkey has officially withdrawn from the international treaty to protect women from violence on Thursday. This decision was condemned by many Turks as well as Western allies.
Tens of thousands protested across Turkey this week when a court order to halt the withdrawal was denied.
Canan Gullu (president of the Federation of Turkish Women’s Associations) said Wednesday that “We will continue to fight.” This decision is a slap in the face to Turkey.
She stated that women and other vulnerable group members have been less willing to request help since March. Covid-19 has fueled economic problems, causing an increase in violence against them.
Istanbul Convention was negotiated in Turkey’s largest city and signed in 2011. It committed its signatories in 2011 to prevent domestic violence from happening and to prosecute those responsibly.
Ankara’s decision to withdraw from the EU provoked condemnation from the United States as well as the European Union. Critics claim that Turkey is now further behind the bloc it applied for membership in 1987.
Turkey has seen a rise in femicide, with one monitoring group recording approximately one per day over the past five years.
The convention’s proponents and the legislation that it relates to arguing for stricter implementation.
Many conservatives in Turkey, Erdogan’s Islamist-rooted AK Party, and Turkey say that the pact threatens the social protection structures.
Many see the Convention as encouraging homosexuality by its principle of nondiscrimination based on sexual orientation.
Erdogan’s office stated in a statement Tuesday to the administrative court that “our country’s withdrawal” from the convention would not result in any legal or practical inadequacy in the prevention and treatment of violence against women.
Dunja Mijatovic, the Council of Europe Commissioner on Human Rights, sent a letter this month to Turkey’s justice and interior ministers, expressing concern over a rise of homophobic narratives from some officials. Some of these stories were directed at the convention.
She stated that “all the measures in the Istanbul Convention strengthen family foundations and link by preventing violence and combating it,”
Amnesty International stated that the decision “sets the clock back ten years on women’s rights, and set a terrifying precedent.”
“The withdrawal sends out a reckless message to perpetrators of abuse, maim, and kill: they can continue doing so with impunity,” stated Agnes Callamard, Secretary General at Amnesty International.