Thirty-one women were murdered by men in Turkey in August, while 20 died under suspicious circumstances, according to data from the Bianet news website.
Among the victims, 15 were killed in their own homes and 24 were murdered by a close male relation, such as a boyfriend, a husband, an ex-husband, or a son. At least seven were killed for demanding a breakup or refusing to reconcile.
Femicides and violence against women are chronic problems in Turkey, where women are killed, raped or beaten almost every day. Many critics say the main reason behind the situation is the policies of the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government, which protects violent and abusive men by granting them impunity.
Turkish courts have repeatedly drawn criticism due to their tendency to hand down lenient sentences to offenders, claiming that the crime was “motivated by passion” or by interpreting victims’ silence as consent.
According to the We Will Stop Femicide Platform, 392 women were murdered in Turkey in 2022.
In a move that attracted national and international outrage, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan through a presidential decree pulled the country out of an international treaty in March 2021 that requires governments to adopt legislation prosecuting perpetrators of domestic violence and similar abuse as well as marital rape and female genital mutilation.
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 Council of Europe member countries in 2011.
Erdoğan’s ruling allies have been calling for further rollbacks, urging the repeal of a domestic law that stipulates protection mechanisms for women who either have suffered or are at risk of suffering violence.
Since Turkey’s withdrawal from the treaty, Turkish authorities have been pressuring women’s rights organizations for their activist work.
Despite the pressure, the organizations have said they will continue monitoring violence and femicide in the country.