Turkish police detained six people on Saturday who took part in a demonstration in support of the Istanbul Convention, the Council of Europe’s (CoE) binding treaty to prevent and combat violence against women, the Birgün daily reported.
Hundreds of women from opposition political parties and women’s and LGBT organizations came together in İstanbul to demonstrate against Turkey’s withdrawal from the treaty. The women chanted, “We will not give up on the Istanbul Convention,” during the demonstration. Gülsüm Kav, from the We Will Stop Femicide Platform, said they had stood against gender-based violence for the last 10 years and would continue to do so until Turkey reinstated the convention and fully implemented it.
— BirGün Gazetesi (@BirGun_Gazetesi) June 19, 2021
The Istanbul Convention was opened for signature during the CoE Ministers Committee meeting hosted by Turkey in 2011.
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan issued an executive decree on March 20 annulling Turkey’s ratification of the treaty. Turkey was the first member state to ratify the CoE convention.
World leaders, including US President Joe Biden and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, international and regional organizations and rights groups have reacted negatively to Turkey’s decision to withdraw from the Istanbul Convention.
Canan Kaftancıoğlu, İstanbul provincial chairman of the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), said during the demonstration that the convention aimed to protect women and punish perpetrators of violence. “The Istanbul Convention empowered women,” she said. “But the leaders of this country withdrew from the convention overnight. This shows how they [the president and the government] are against female empowerment.”
Kaftancıoğlu said women from all walks of life were saying loud and clear they wanted the convention to be reinstated.
A survey conducted by Metropoll has revealed that 52.3 percent of Turks are against the government’s decision to withdraw from the Istanbul Convention.
Gender-based violence is serious problem in Turkey. According to a report published earlier by Sezgin Tanrıkulu, a human rights defender and CHP lawmaker, nearly 7,000 women have been victims of femicide during the 18 years that the Justice and Development Party (AKP) has been in power.
Despite alarming data Turkey withdrew from the convention instead of working for its better implementation because Turkish conservatives claimed the charter damaged family unity, encouraged divorce and that its references to equality were being used by the LGBT community to gain broader acceptance in society.