A total of 24 women in Turkey were killed in incidents of domestic violence and 16 died under suspicious circumstances in April, the We Will Stop Femicide Platform (Kadın Cinayetlerini Durduracağız Platformu) saidin its monthly report.
According to the report the majority of victims were killed by men they were closely related to or were in a relationship with. Moreover,10 women were murdered for seeking a divorce and 15 were killed in their homes.
The platform said women were not effectively protected by the police and that perpetrators of violence were often afforded impunity by the judiciary.
Many perpetrators of femicide are given minimum prison sentences due to extenuating circumstances.
Women’s rights activists have repeatedly pointed out that women were not effectively protected by the police if they filed a complaint against their husbands or partners. Victims often say Turkish authorities are ineffective in combatting violence. They say their complaints to the police about abusive partners go unanswered and are ignored.
If women are subjected to domestic violence, it is regarded as their fault as they are expected to be silent and subservient.
The report emphasized the importance of reinstating the Istanbul Convention for combatting gender-based violence and establishing equality.
The Council of Europe Convention on Preventing and Combating Violence against Women and Domestic Violence, better known as the Istanbul Convention, is an international accord designed to protect women’s rights and prevent domestic violence in societies and was opened to the signature of member countries of the Council of Europe in 2011.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan sparked outrage in Turkey and the international community after he issued a decree in March 2021 that pulled the country out of the international treaty, which requires governments to adopt legislation prosecuting perpetrators of domestic violence and similar abuse as well as marital rape and female genital mutilation.
Since Turkey’s withdrawal from the treaty, Turkish authorities have been pressuring women’s rights organizations for their activist work. In April authorities started the legal process to close down the We Will Stop Femicide Platform for “illegal and immoral activities” and “damaging the Turkish family structure.”
Women’s rights activists from the Diyarbakır-based Rosa Women’s Association were detained in March. Journalist Nurcan Yalcin was handed down a seven month, 22 day prison sentence for her membership in Rosa in November 2021.
Despite the pressure organizations have said they would continue monitoring violence and femicide in the country.