On Saturday (June 19), hundreds of women gathered in Istanbul to urge President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to revoke the anti-violence treaty of the Council of Europe before officially withdrawing from it on July 1. Its decision to withdraw from the Council of Europe’s anti-violence treaty.
In March of this year, Erdogan withdrew from the world’s first binding treaty to prevent and combat violence against women, the Istanbul Convention, which aroused anger.
Women’s groups organized two large-scale protests in Istanbul, one on Saturday and the other on July 1, to force the government to revoke the decision before the official withdrawal. The anger did not abate. The smaller protests are planned to continue until July 1.
An Agence France-Presse reporter said that more than 1,000 women from all over Turkey participated in the demonstrations on the Asian side of Istanbul, surrounded by a large number of police officers.
Some people held rainbow flags, while others held placards saying: “The Istanbul Convention is ours.”
“Our hope is always rooted in our struggle and organization,” said Melek Ondas of the Women’s Committee Association, adding that women came from 70 provinces to Istanbul.
“We believe in the strength of our organization. Regardless of whether the decision is overturned, we will continue our struggle in every possible way,” she told AFP.
The 2011 Istanbul Convention, signed by 45 countries and the European Union, requires governments to pass legislation related to the prosecution of domestic violence, including marital rape and female genital mutilation.
Women’s rights organizations accused the government of withdrawing from the treaty in order to appease conservatives who claimed that the treaty undermined family unity.
Conservatives also suggested that the LGBT community use the equality mentioned in the treaty to gain wider acceptance in Turkish society.
But critics of Erdogan’s decision say that in a country where violence against women is widespread, the withdrawal of troops puts Turkish women at greater risk.
According to the rights organization We Will Stop Femicide Platform, 300 women were murdered last year, and 177 women have been killed so far this year.
It should be pointed out that all EU member states have not yet ratified the Istanbul Convention, and some have stated that they will never do so.
according to European Commission website Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania and Slovakia have not yet ratified the convention. Bulgarian Constitutional Court ruled that the Istanbul Convention was unconstitutional in 2018Poland has ratified the convention, but the conservative government has changed. Critics claim that the Istanbul Convention is a conspiracy to introduce a “gender ideology” into a traditional conservative society.