Some politicians attacked the charter saying it harms family unity, encourages divorce and acceptance of the LGBTQ community.
Turkey withdrew from the world’s first binding treaty to prevent and combat violence against women, a presidential decree announced on Friday in the Conservatives’ latest victory in President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s ruling party.
The 2011 Istanbul Convention obliges governments to pass legislation punishing domestic violence and similar abuses, as well as marital rape and female genital mutilation.
No reason was provided for the pullout, but officials from Erdogan’s ruling AK party said last year that the government was considering pulling out amid a dispute over how to curb the growing violence in the country. towards women.
“The guarantee of women’s rights is the current regulation of our statutes, mainly our Constitution. Our justice system is dynamic and robust enough to implement new regulations as needed, ”Family, Labor and Social Policy Minister Zehra Zumrut said on Twitter, without giving any reason for the decision.
Conservatives had argued that the charter harmed family unity, encouraged divorce, and that its references to equality were used by the LGBTQ community to gain wider acceptance in society.
The opposition CHP party criticized the move.
Gokce Gokcen, CHP vice president for human rights, tweeted that dropping the treaty meant “keeping women second-class citizens and letting them be killed.”
Turkey had debated a possible departure after an official in Erdogan’s party raised the issue of abandoning the treaty in 2020.
Since then, women have taken to the streets of Istanbul and other cities, calling on the government to stick to the convention.
Turkey is not the first country to move towards abandoning the agreement. Poland’s highest court examined the pact after a cabinet member said Warsaw should abandon the treaty, which the nationalist government considers too liberal.
Domestic violence and femicide remain a serious problem in Turkey.
Erdogan condemned violence against women, notably saying this month that his government would work to end violence against women. But critics said his government had not done enough to prevent femicides and domestic violence.
Turkey does not keep official statistics on femicide. Data from the World Health Organization has shown that 38% of women in Turkey experience partner violence in their lifetime, compared to around 25% in Europe.
Last year, 300 women were murdered in Turkey according to the rights group We Will Stop Femicide Platform.
Ankara has taken steps such as tagging individuals known to use violence and creating a smartphone app for women to alert police, which has been downloaded hundreds of thousands of times.
Erdogan’s decision came after he unveiled judicial reforms this month that he said would improve rights and freedoms and help meet EU standards.
Turkey has been a candidate to join the bloc since 2005, but access talks have been halted due to political differences and Ankara’s human rights record.