Turkey has pulled out of the Istanbul Convention -which protects victims of domestic and gender-based violence and prosecutes offenders- by an abrupt midnight presidential decree.
The Council of Europe “Convention on Preventing and Combating Violence against Women and Domestic Violence” entered into force in 2011. At the time Erdogan proudly announced the treaty by saying “Violence against women is human rights violation. The Convention was prepared under the leadership of Turkey.”
Withdrawal from the Convention is a huge step backwards in the struggle to combat gender inequality and violence against women in Turkey where at least 419 women have been killed by men in 2020.
Islamist AKP regime perceives the Convention as adverse to the “Turkish family values”. Last year when the law was under the threat of withdrawal, progressive forces rose up and called on the government to fully implement the Convention. Back then the AKP government delayed the withdrawal to find a way to avoid a major backlash. Women organisations and progressive forces once again called for protests under the “Istanbul Convention Is Ours” banner in all major cities across Turkey following the announcement of the withdrawal.
Since consolidating his power and assuming the Presidency, Erdogan has no limits on crushing the rule of law. However according to the lawyers, under the Turkish Constitution, international agreements on human rights are above internal laws thereby overturning the Convention via presidential decree is void and null in itself without the parliament approval. Prominent human rights lawyer Kerem Altiparmak criticised the decree on Twitter by underlining that “Parliament’s will and legislative power were ignored” and said that “The Convention is still in effect.”
SPOT stands with the resistance against attacks on women’s rights and the rule of law in Turkey and condemns President Erdogan and the ruling AKP for their draconian actions.