First modification: 07/01/2021 – 17:15
This July 1, Turkey made official its exit from the Istanbul Convention, signed in 2011 and which committed member countries to fight against gender-based violence in all its forms. This decision has generated the rejection of women, the parties of the left and the international community, who point to the movement as a setback for the rights of Turkish women.
As of this Thursday, Turkey is no longer a party to the Istanbul Convention. Something that implies a setback for the rights of Turkish women, since the agreement signed in 2011 committed its followers to persecute and combat gender violence.
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced Turkey’s withdrawal from the Istanbul Convention in March. Something that has generated the rejection of many women in the country. The president argued that this withdrawal does not imply a cessation of the fight against violence, and that it only tries to put national laws ahead. A speech that feminist groups have not bought.
“Our fight against violence against women did not begin with this treaty nor will it end with the withdrawal of the treaty,” Erdogan said during an intervention on the NTV television channel, while announcing a new national plan to fight against sexist violence this Thursday. .
The decision has cost him much criticism from progressive sectors of society and also from the opposition. The leftist, pro-Kurdish People’s Democratic Party (HDP Kadin) Women’s Assembly publicly condemned the decision.
“The Istanbul Convention, which was canceled by the decision of a single man, is a contract that defends the right to life of women. Under no circumstances do we renounce our right to life or our fight for the Istanbul Convention, That is our achievement! “, Said the group through its Twitter account.
The Istanbul Convention, which was canceled by a single man’s decision, is a contract that defends the right to life of women. Under no circumstances do we give up on our right to life, our struggle for the Istanbul Convention, which is our achievement! pic.twitter.com/zzPEip07zk
– HDP Kadın (@HDPkadin) July 1, 2021
In addition to national criticism, Erdogan’s decision has also generated rejection from Western powers. Both the United States and the European Union, among others, criticized the step backwards on women’s rights. For his part, Erdogan has turned a deaf ear to the criticism and, now, Turkey has become the first member state of the Council of Europe to disassociate itself from an international human rights convention. Something that takes him further and further away from joining the European Union, something he requested in 1987.
With the formalization of the departure on July 1, many women’s organizations are expected to take to the streets to protest against the Executive’s decision. On June 19, there were already hundreds who demonstrated against the withdrawal of the Agreement and, although they tried to appeal it to the courts, the judicial appeal was rejected this week.
Increase in femicides and homophobic discourse in the country
The Eurasian nation has seen an increase in the number of feminicides and abuse against women in recent times. In addition, the Federation of Turkish Women’s Associations warns that, since the start of the pandemic in March, women are less likely to ask for help and it is more difficult for them to receive it. With the economic crisis derived from the health emergency, cases of abuse have also increased.
“We will continue our fight … Turkey is shooting itself in the foot with this decision,” Canan Gullu, president of the Federation of Turkish Women’s Associations, said in an interview on Wednesday.
With the withdrawal of the Convention, experts point out that the Erdogan government is turning towards the ultra-conservative sector of Turkish society. Since, from this same sector, a campaign was promoted against the Istanbul Convention claiming that it undermined the values of the traditional family and that it “promoted homosexuality”, despite the fact that it does not say anything on the subject explicitly.
A point that shows the increase in homophobic discourse in the country, with ultraconservative sectors that feel attacked with the emancipation of women and with the principle of non-discrimination based on sexual orientation.
Without going any further, this month the Commissioner for Human Rights of the Council of Europe, Dunja Mijatovic, sent a letter to the Ministers of Interior and Justice of Turkey in which she expressed her concern about the increase in these homophobic speeches by some officials.
“All the measures provided for in the Istanbul Convention reinforce the foundations and family ties by preventing and combating the main cause of destruction of families, that is, violence,” he alleged as a counter-argument to the alleged destruction of “family values.” .
An investigation indicates that, for five years, there has been an average of one femicide per day in Turkey. Therefore, every year, between 300 and 400 women are killed in Turkey by their partners, ex-partners or relatives, for whom the sexual life of a single or divorced woman is interpreted as an affront to the honor of her relatives.
With Reuters, EFE and local media