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Turkey withdraws from the Istanbul Convention on the Protection of Women

The convention bears the name of the Turkish city in which it was adopted. But the government of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has decided to terminate the Istanbul Agreement on the Protection of Women.

Turkey has withdrawn from a convention aimed at preventing and combating violence against women. A corresponding decision by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was published in the official gazette on Saturday night.

The international agreement was drawn up by the Council of Europe in 2011 and was intended to create a Europe-wide legal framework to prevent and combat violence against women. Erdogan himself had signed the convention in Istanbul – the place of the final agreement – when he was still prime minister. It was later ratified in Turkey, but according to the organization “We will stop feminicide” it was never applied.

Violence against women is a widespread problem in Turkey, as in many other countries. In the past few months there had been repeated discussions about a possible exit from the Istanbul Convention. After the execution, the activists of “We will stop feminicide” called for protests against the decision via Twitter.

For example, the Green MP Berîvan Aymaz from North Rhine-Westphalia described the decision on Twitter as “very bitter”. “A clear message to the women and the increasingly strong women’s movement in the country: We will not protect you and your rights.”

According to the organization, at least 300 women were murdered by men in Turkey last year alone. Recently, the rape and murder of a 92-year-old woman and the video of a brutal act in which a man molested his ex-wife fueled the discussion about violence against women.

On March 8th, on International Women’s Day in Istanbul, thousands of people demonstrated peacefully for equality and against violence against women. Erdogan had said that day that one wanted to take stronger action against violence against women and that families, whose foundation are “man and woman”, should be strengthened as an institution.

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