Some 2,000 femicides, suspicious deaths in Turkey since withdrawal from Istanbul Convention

Demonstrators take part in a protest against Turkey's withdrawal from the Istanbul Convention, the world's first binding treaty to prevent and combat violence against women, in Ankara, on July 1, 2021. Turkish president sparked outrage in March by pulling out of the Istanbul Convention. The 2011 pact, signed by 45 countries and the European Union, requires governments to adopt legislation linked to the prosecution of crimes including marital rape and female genital mutilation. Adem ALTAN / AFP

At least 996 women in Turkey have been killed by men since the country’s 2021 withdrawal from the Istanbul Convention, an international treaty aimed at combatting domestic violence, while 748 women have died under suspicious circumstances, Turkish Minute reported, citing a report by the We Will Stop Femicide Platform (KCDP).

March 20 marks the third anniversary of the issuance of a presidential decree ordering Turkey’s withdrawal from the Istanbul Convention, which led to outrage among women’s rights groups in the country and drew international condemnation.

Statistics from the platform showed that 280 women were killed by men in Turkey in 2021. The figure was 334 in 2022, 315 in 2023, 31 in January and 36 in February 2024. Most of the women were killed either by their ex-husbands or partners whom they wanted to break up with and mostly by the use of firearms.

According to the KCDP, 748 other women have died under suspicious circumstances since 2021.

The Council of Europe Convention on Preventing and Combating Violence against Women and Domestic Violence 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 in 2011.

Despite opposition from the international community and women’s rights groups, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan issued the decree on March 20, 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.

Erdoğan claimed the treaty had been “hijacked by a group of people attempting to normalize homosexuality,” which he said was “incompatible” with Turkey’s “social and family values.”

Turkey officially withdrew from the convention on July 1, 2021.

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 Justice and Development Party (AKP) government, which protects violent and abusive men by affording them impunity.

Turkey was ranked 129th out of 146 countries with respect to inequalities between men and women in the World Economic Forum’s (WEF) Global Gender Gap Report 2023.

Take a second to support Stockholm Center for Freedom on Patreon!
Become a patron at Patreon!