This gesture appeared as a new provocation from Recep Tayyip Erdogan, towards his European partners. Turkey officially withdrew, Thursday 1is July, of an international convention against violence against women, implementing a decision announced in March by the Turkish president which drew criticism from many Turkish citizens and Western allies of Ankara.
Thousands of protesters are scheduled to take to the country’s streets again on Thursday, as an appeals court this week dismissed an appeal to suspend Turkey’s withdrawal from the Istanbul Convention, the first international treaty – signed… in the Turkish capital in 2011 – to set legally binding standards in some thirty countries to prevent gender-based violence.
“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. “ Since March, she added, women and other vulnerable groups have been more reluctant to seek help and less inclined to receive it, while economic hardship linked to the coronavirus health crisis have accentuated domestic violence.
Feeling of impunity
Women’s rights groups have already accused the government of not enforcing existing laws firmly enough, which they say encourages a feeling of impunity. At least three hundred women died from their spousal beatings in Turkey last year, according to rights group We Will Stop Femicide.
The Istanbul Convention, negotiated in the Turkish city and ratified in 2011, commits its signatories to preventing domestic violence and other similar abuses – such as marital rape and female genital mutilation -, to initiate legal proceedings where appropriate and to promote equality. However, many conservatives in Turkey and in the ranks of President Erdogan’s Justice and Development Party (AKP) believe that the convention harms family structures that protect society.
Some even see it as the promotion of homosexuality because of the principles against discrimination linked to sexual orientation included in the text. “The withdrawal of our country from the convention will not lead to a legal or practical gap in the prevention of violence against women”Erdogan’s services said in a statement sent to the administrative court on Tuesday.