Turkey on Thursday formally exited a treaty combatting femicide and domestic abuse, during a controversial move by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan condemned by the West and rights groups.
Erdogan sparked outrage in March by coitus interruptus from the world’s first binding treaty to stop and combat violence against women, referred to as the Istanbul Convention.
The 2011 pact, signed by 45 countries and therefore the European Union, requires governments to adopt legislation linked to the prosecution of crimes including marital rape and feminine genital mutilation. Erdogan’s move came as he clings on to support from conservative and nationalist groups to take care of his 18-year rule.
Rights organizations say Erdogan’s decision will put women at greater risk of violence when femicide is already prevalent in Turkey.
The president on Thursday insisted Turkey’s commitment to finish violence against women wouldn’t suffer due to his decision.
“As the fight against violence against women didn’t begin with this treaty, so will our commitment not end because we are withdrawing,” he said.
He was speaking at an occasion at the presidential palace in Ankara for a national action decide to combat violence against women.
But in comments likely to anger Turkish women under a president who often bases their value on whether or not they are mothers and their relationship to men, Erdogan said “the fight was about protecting the honor of… our mothers and daughters.” Erdogan in 2016 recommended women have three children and suggested a lady was “incomplete” if she didn’t have any.
Justifying the withdrawal in March, Erdogan’s top press aide Fahrettin Altun said the treaty’s references to gender-based abuses had been “hijacked by people attempting to normalize homosexuality”.
The LGBTQ movement is “incompatible” with Turkey’s social and family values, he said. Major Turkish cities were convulsed earlier this year by student-led protests supporting broader rights. Homosexuality has been legal in Turkey since the Ottoman Empire.
But women’s rights groups accuse Ankara of withdrawing from the treaty to appease conservatives at a time when Erdogan’s ruling Islamic-rooted party is recording lower levels of support.
The withdrawal was condemned by the ECU Union and therefore us.
Turkey’s highest administrative court on Tuesday rejected an effort to annul the withdrawal, saying that Erdogan had the “authority” to form the choice.
Last year, 300 women were murdered within the country, consistent with the rights group we’ll Stop Femicide Platform, while 189 are killed thus far this year.
“The withdrawal sends a reckless and dangerous message to perpetrators who abuse, maim and kill: that they will keep it up doing so with impunity,” said Amnesty International’s Secretary-General, Agnes Callamard.
There are protests planned for Thursday evening across Turkey, with an outsized rally in Istanbul to start out at 1600 GMT.
The Istanbul governorate banned a Pride march last weekend, which saw police use force while detaining dozens of protesters and pin a photographer to the bottom, prompting a proper complaint.
The parade was held annually in Istanbul until 2015, an occasion that had been attended by thousands of individuals.
Critics say the bans on the Pride march and therefore the treaty withdrawal demonstrate a creeping Islamisation under Erdogan, who first came to power as prime minister in 2003.