Mar 20, 2021 - World

Turkey withdraws from treaty preventing violence against women

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan speaking in Ankara on March 18.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan speaking in Ankara on March 18. Photo: Emin Sansar/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Turkey has withdrawn from a Council of Europe treaty on preventing violence against women but did not provide a reason, according Reuters.

Why it matters: Turkey pulled out of the accord, known as the Istanbul Convention, amid a surge of femicide and domestic violence in the country.

  • "His latest actions, overnight between Friday and Saturday, came amid a flurry of attacks on political opponents that seem intended to solidify his political base," the New York Times writes.

Context: The treaty was created to help prevent, prosecute and eliminate violence against women and domestic violence while promoting gender equality.

  • Turkey signed the treaty in 2011.

What they're saying: "The Istanbul Convention covers 34 European countries and is widely regarded as the gold standard in international efforts to protect women and girls from the violence that they face every day in our societies," Marija Pejcinovic Buric, secretary general of the Council of Europe, said in a statement.

  • "This move is a huge setback to these efforts and all the more deplorable because it compromises the protection of women in Turkey, across Europe and beyond."

Turkish government officials have claimed that domestic law, rather than international treaties, would protect women’s rights in the country, according to Reuters.

The big picture: Data from the World Health Organization has shown that 38% of women in Turkey are subject to violence from their partners over their lifetimes, compared to about 25% in Europe, per Reuters.

  • Turkey does not keep record of official statistics on violence against women.

What to watch: Women’s groups announced a protest rally on Saturday afternoon, the Times notes.

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