ISTANBUL (AP) – Turkey has pulled out of a major European treaty protecting against violence against women, which it first signed 10 years ago and is named after its largest city.
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s decree calling on Turkey to suspend ratification of the Istanbul Convention on Saturday strikes a chord with women’s rights activists, who say the agreement could be used to combat domestic violence.
Council of Europe Secretary General Maria Peժinoviուր Buri որոշ called the decision “destructive”.
“This step is a major setback for these efforts; it is even more painful because it jeopardizes the protection of women in Turkey, throughout Europe and beyond,” she said.
The Istanbul Convention states that men և women հավասար have equal rights և oblige state authorities to take steps to prevent gender-based violence against women, to protect victims, and to prosecute criminals.
Some officials in Erdogan’s pro-Islamist party have called for a revision of the agreement, arguing that it encourages divorce and undermines the traditional family, which they say runs counter to the country’s conservative values. Critics argue that the treaty promotes homosexuality by using categories such as gender, sexual orientation, and gender identity. They see it as a threat to Turkish families. Hate speech is on the rise in Turkey, including the interior minister, who tweeted that LGBT people were “perverted.”
Groups of women, including their allies, who were protesting the holding of the convention, immediately called for rallies across the country on Saturday under the slogan “Take back the decision, apply the treaty.”
According to human rights groups, cases of violence and murder against women are increasing in Turkey.
A total of 77 women have been killed since the beginning of the year, according to the We Stop Stop Femicide Platform. According to the group, at least 409 women were killed in 2020.
The Turkish Minister of Family, Labor and Social Policy wrote on Twitter that women’s rights are still protected by Turkish law, and that the judiciary is “dynamic enough” to set new rules. Zehra Zumrut Selcuk tweeted that violence against women is a crime against humanity and that the government will continue to have “zero tolerance” for it.
Turkey was the first country to sign the Council of Europe Convention on Preventing and Combating Violence against Women and Domestic Violence in 2011 at the Istanbul Committee of Ministers. The law came into force in 2014, and according to the Turkish Constitution, it became law
On Saturday, some lawyers argued that the treaty was still in force, arguing that the president could not withdraw from it without parliamentary approval, which ratified it in 2012.
But Erdogan was given a broad mandate to be re-elected in 2018, replacing the executive branch of parliament in Turkey.