Turkey nixes Istanbul Convention on prevention of violence against women. Why and what does this mean?
Turkey withdraws from Istanbul Convention
The authorities said that “this treaty is actually trying to normalize homosexuality, which is contrary to Turkey’s social and family values.”
The rejection of the Istanbul Convention, which Turkey signed back in 2011, caused thousands of protests across the country.
In an official statement from the public relations department of the presidential administration, it is said that “this decision does not mean in any way that the state will make concessions in matters of protecting women.”
“Turkey will not give up its fight against domestic violence,” the statement said.
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What is the Istanbul Convention?
It was Turkey that first signed the Council of Europe Convention on Preventing and Combating Violence against Women and Domestic Violence in May 2011. The document was opened for signing in Istanbul and therefore received the name ‘Istanbul Convention’.
If a country has signed the Istanbul Convention, it means committing itself to developing legislation that will protect women from all types of violence and discrimination. Another important request to the participating country is the popularization of the idea of gender equality, and it is this aspect of the convention that all these years has caused a controversial reaction in the society in Turkey (as in many other countries of the region, in particular, in Azerbaijan and Armenia).
- Why Armenia isn’t taking to the European convention against domestic violence – myths and refutals
- What is the Istanbul Convention and why does Azerbaijan need it?
- “Emine and I shared a husband – but we loved each other like sisters”. Stories of three women
Turkey’s decision to withdraw from the convention looks unexpected, but it hardly is. For years, conservatives have demanded that the convention be abandoned because it “goes against family customs and promotes LGBT values.”
These statements have been protested by activists who deal with hundreds of crimes involving violations of women’s rights. They were supported by political parties, which are considered reformers in Turkey.
Data from the Platform for the Prevention of Killing Women:
In 2020, 300 women were killed in Turkey, the causes of death of another 171 women were called “dubious”
Protests against withdrawal from the convention
Thousands of people took to the square in Istanbul’s Kadikoy district at the joint call of two organizations – the Platform for the Prevention of the Killing of Women and the Women’s Gatherings. The activists were also supported by the main opposition – the Republican People’s Party (CHP).
People were holding placards “Revoke the decision, bring the convention back” and shouted slogans “Killing women is political,” “You will never be alone.” The names of the women killed recently were listed at the action.
“We will not get tired or stop. In this square, we have achieved many of our rights. Equality and justice will be in the hands of women. We will force to revoke this decision, we want to live with equal rights and freedom, ”says Fidan Ataselim, representative of the Women’s Assembly.
Massive protests against the de-ratification of the Istanbul Convention took place in many cities in Turkey, including Izmir, Manisa, Mugla, Bodrum, Bursa and Eskisehir. The mayors of the cities, in which the representatives of the opposition SNR won the elections to the municipalities, challenged the president’s decision in writing.
“The President cannot overturn parliamentary decisions” – opposition politician Derya Shenturk in an interview with JAMnews
“The de-ratification of the convention by the president is a violation of the law. According to the 90th article of the Turkish Constitution, a decision approved by the legislature cannot be canceled by a decision of the president. He infringed on the rights of parliament. Until the parliament passed another law – the convention operates on the territory of the country.
According to polls, only 17 percent of respondents are against the convention. I am sure that these 17 percent will change their minds if they read the content of the convention.
This is a provocative step against society, a hard blow to democracy. Therefore, this is a problem not only for women, but for the whole society. We will not surrender the Istanbul Convention. If we do not resist, real darkness will begin. “
Most discussed topic in social networks
In the Turkish social media segment, one of the most popular hashtags these days is # İstanbulSözleşmesiYaşatır (Istanbul Convention gives life). A few characteristic comments:
“Mustafa Yildiz killed Hatiju Yildiz in Antalya. But by a court decision, he could not even approach her. Happy are those who, instead of creating laws under the auspices of a convention to prevent murder, place the blame on the document? “
“Women want to live. Do you hear? “
- “1934 – women won the right to vote and be elected.
- 2021 – women have been deprived of their right to life! “