Hundreds of women killed in aftermath of Turkey’s withdrawal from Istanbul Convention

Republican People’s Party deputy Candan Yüceer has said at least 603 women have been killed and 464 women have died under suspicious circumstances since Turkey withdrew from a European convention against gender-based violence, Deutsche Welle Turkish service (DW) reported.

Women rights activists said these numbers were extremely worrying and expressed concern over the future of women’s rights in Turkey since members of two radical Islamist political parties were elected for parliament in the May 14 elections. 

In an overnight decree in 2021 Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan withdrew Turkey from the Istanbul Convention, which requires member states to adopt domestic legislation and strictly punish domestic abuse and gender-based violence.

According to Erdoğan and conservative members of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), the treaty was “incompatible” with Turkey’s “social and family values.”

Women’s rights activists are worried that with the election of the radical Islamist Free Cause Party (HÜDA-PAR) and New Welfare Party (YRP), women will be further oppressed and deprived of their rights in Turkey.

Speaking to DW, women’s rights activist Rojda Aksoy said both parties had used misogynistic speech in their election campaigns. “Women deserve to live freely in this country, but this has become incredibly difficult under the Erdoğan regime. His withdrawal from the Istanbul Convention is the biggest example of this,” she said.

Both parties had also demanded the repeal of Law No. 6284 for the prevention of violence against women as a condition for joining Erdoğan’s political alliance in the elections. 

The opposition said making women’s rights a political bargaining chip was both “annoying” and “incompatible with political ethics.”

Femicides and violence against women are serious problems in Turkey, where women are killed, raped or beaten every day. Critics say the main reason behind the situation is the policies of the AKP government, which protects violent and abusive men by affording them impunity.

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