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Sabtu, 20 Maret 2021

Turkey withdraws from European treaty protecting women from gender-based violence - ABC News

Turkey has withdrawn from a landmark European treaty protecting women from violence.

The county was the first to sign the Istanbul Convention treaty, named after its largest city, a decade ago.

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan provided no reason for the withdrawal, but the annulment is a blow to women's rights advocates, who say the agreement is crucial to combating domestic violence.

The convention had split Mr Erdogan's ruling AK Party (AKP) and even his family.

Last year, officials said the government was mulling pulling out amid a row over how to curb growing violence against women.

The Council of Europe's Secretary-General, Marija Pejčinović Burić, called the decision "devastating".

"This move is a huge setback to these efforts and all the more deplorable because it compromises the protection of women in Turkey, across Europe and beyond," she said.

The Istanbul Convention states that men and women have equal rights and obliges state authorities to take steps to prevent gender-based violence against women, protect victims and prosecute perpetrators.

Some officials from Mr Erdoğan's Islam-oriented party have advocated a review of the agreement, arguing it encourages divorce and undermines the traditional family, which they say are contrary to the country's conservative values.

Critics also claim the treaty promotes homosexuality through the use of categories like gender, sexual orientation and gender identity.

Turkish prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan addresses his parliamentary party in Ankara.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan issued a decree annulling the country's ratification of the Istanbul Convention.(

AFP: Adem Altan

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They see that as a threat to Turkish families.

"Preserving our traditional social fabric" will protect the dignity of Turkish women, Vice-President Fuat Oktay said on Twitter.

"For this sublime purpose, there is no need to seek the remedy outside or to imitate others."

Hate speech and femicide on the rise in Turkey

Critics of the withdrawal have said it would put Turkey further out of step with the European Union, which it remains as a candidate to join.

They argue the convention, and legislation approved in its wake, need to be implemented more stringently.

Turkey does not keep official statistics on femicide.

But the rate roughly tripled in the last 10 years, according to a group that monitors femicide.

A total of 77 women have been killed since the start of the year, according to the We Will Stop Femicide Platform.

At least 409 women were killed in 2020, according to the group.

World Health Organization data has shown 38 per cent of women in Turkey are subject to violence from a partner in their lifetime, compared to about 25 per cent in Europe.

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"Shame on this bigotry, patriarchy, heartlessness that protects bullies and murderers instead of women," Turkish author Elif Safak said on Twitter of the withdrawal.

Hate speech has been on the rise in Turkey, including the interior minister who described LGBT people as "perverts" in a tweet.

Women's groups and their allies, who have been protesting to keep the convention intact, immediately called for demonstrations across the country on Saturday under the slogan: "Withdraw the decision, apply the treaty."

Turkey's Minister for Family, Labour and Social policies Zehra Zumrut Selcuk tweeted that women's rights are still protected by Turkish laws and the judicial system is "dynamic and strong enough" to enact new regulations.

She also tweeted that violence against women is a crime against humanity and the government would continue to have "zero tolerance" for it.

Turkey was the first country to sign the Council of Europe's "Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence" at a committee of ministers meeting in Istanbul in 2011.

The law came into force in 2014 and Turkey's constitution says international agreements have the force of law.

Some lawyers claimed that the treaty is still active, arguing the president cannot withdraw from it without the approval of parliament, which ratified it in 2012.

But Mr Erdoğan gained sweeping powers with his re-election in 2018, setting in motion the change in Turkey from a parliamentary system to an executive presidency.

AP

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2021-03-20 12:25:33Z
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