Turkish President Erdogan has withdrawn his country from the Istanbul Convention, which deals with combating violence against women and domestic violence. The country was one of the first signatories to the treaty in the Turkish city of Istanbul in 2011.
Countries that subscribe to the Istanbul Convention must prevent violence against women, protect victims and condemn perpetrators. Dozens of European countries have ratified the treaty. Last year Poland announced its intention to leave the treaty as well.
According to the governing party AKP, the content of the treaty is not in line with traditional family values in Turkish society. They take offense at the interpretation of gender equality, which in their view ‘propagates’ homosexuality and opens the door to free interpretations of sex.
According to correspondent Mitra Nazar, the country has withdrawn at a time when violence against women is a major topic of discussion. “So far 70 women have been murdered in Turkey this year,” she says in the CCEit Radio 1 News. “And it‘s only March. Last year, about 300 women were involved and more than 450 the year before. Women are murdered because they are women, often by their husband, ex or relative.”
Last summer, women went to the streets of Istanbul weekly to draw attention to the increasing number of murders of Turkish women for years. They wanted Turkey to step up its efforts to fulfil its obligations under the Treaty. Also at the beginning of this month, on International Women’s Day, women went out to the streets. “Those demonstrations were fairly peaceful,” says Nazar. “But afterwards some women were arrested in their homes because they sang a song that can be interpreted as an insult to Erdogan.”
Withdrawal from the treaty is contrary to the tone of the President‘s approach to the EU. “Since the beginning of this year, Erdogan has been seeking more rapprochement and speaks pro-European words. By withdrawing now he takes some steps backwards in that process,” says the correspondent.
Here’s a report that correspondent Mitr Nazar made last year about demonstrations against violence against women: