Turkey will no longer be part of the decade-old “Istanbul Convention” that aimed to take action against domestic violence and violence against women
Rabat – Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has withdrawn the country from a 2011 convention that aimed to stop violence against women. Early on Saturday, March 20, Erdogan signed a decree that annuls Turkey’s participation in the convention aimed at protecting women.
The Istanbul Convention is an initiative by the Council of Europe that was signed in Istanbul in 2011. The convention sets out to combat violence against women and domestic violence.
A total of 34 countries had signed the convention, with officials celebrating its 10-year anniversary on March 5.
Erdogan’s decree appears to come after months of pressure from Turkey’s conservative and religious political parties which had called for the move despite a rise in violence towards women in Turkey.
The decree did not come out of the blue however as Erdogan’s Justice and Development Party had considered withdrawing from the treaty last year.
Turkey’s Minister of Family, Labour and Social Services Zehra Zumrut Selcuk tweeted “violence against women is above all a crime against humanity and combating this crime is a human rights issue.”
Council of Europe Secretary-General Marija Pejcinovic Buric described the news as “devastating,” and called the decision a “huge setback” for the protection of women.
President Erdogan did not elaborate on the motivation behind Turkey’s withdrawal of the women’s rights convention. Turkish state media chose to emphasize a “human rights action plan” introduced by Erdogan earlier in the month without mentioning the withdrawal.
Women in Turkey continue to struggle to compete with men in the labor market according to a recent report by the Turkish Statistical Institute (TurkStat) launched to mark International Women’s Day. TurkStat’s “Women in Statistics” report highlighted that women make up only 28.7% of the labor market.
Violence against women in Turkey continues to be a severe domestic issue. The topic sparked outrage on March 6 when footage of a woman being beaten on the street in front of her child circulated on social media.