Study reveals 60 percent of Turks have witnessed violence against women

A new study has revealed that almost 60 percent of Turks have witnessed violence against women in their immediate environment amid calls for reinstatement of the Istanbul Convention.

The report, titled “The changing family structure in Turkey” and released by İstanbul Commerce University on Friday, included interviews with 2,400 people from 26 provinces.

According to the report, a total of 46.5 percent of people interviewed occasionally witnessed a woman subjected to violence, while 10.7 percent were frequent witnesses. Nearly 18 percent said economic problems were the main reason for domestic violence, and 16.4 percent said the current laws were not adequate to prevent such violence.

Gender-based violence is a serious problem in Turkey. According to a report published earlier by Sezgin Tanrıkulu,  a human rights defender and Republican People’s Party (CHP) lawmaker, nearly 7,000 women have been victims of femicide during the 18 years that the AKP has been in power.

Despite the alarming data, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan issued a decree on March 20 withdrawing Turkey from the Council of Europe (CoE) Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence, better known as the Istanbul Convention, an international accord designed to protect women’s rights and prevent domestic violence in societies, sparking outrage in Turkey and the international community.

Turkey, the first member state to ratify the CoE convention, which was opened for signature in İstanbul during Turkey’s chairmanship of the organization 10 years ago, ironically has also become the first state to announce its withdrawal from it.

The Council of State, Turkey’s highest administrative court, rejected an appeal demanding cancellation of the presidential decree in June.

Despite increasing criticism from prominent figures, opposition leaders and the international community, the Turkish government has insisted that violence against women and femicide are not political discussions.

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.

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