MHP leader calls on gov’t to 'evaluate' withdrawing from Istanbul Convention

MHP leader calls on gov’t to 'evaluate' withdrawing from Istanbul Convention

MHP leader calls on gov’t to evaluate withdrawing from Istanbul Convention

Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahçeli called for a thorough evaluation on whether the government should withdraw from the Istanbul Convention, a Council of Europe convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence.

“We should evaluate well whether or not to abolish it. We should consider what it will bring and take within the framework of objective criteria. If we cannot prevent the murder of women, we will all be buried under an avalanche,” he said, speaking to A News broadcaster on July 22.

The Istanbul Convention has become a topic of intense debate after the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) indicated the government can withdraw from the convention, with one official saying signing it was a “mistake” despite increasing numbers of femicides in the country.

The convention, women’s rights groups say, provides a ground for women to be protected against domestic violence and femicides – both issues commonplace in Turkey. The groups have said the government has not stayed loyal to the convention, signed and ratified in 2014, which is why femicides have been on the rise.

Turkey has been shocked by the murder of Pınar Gültekin, a 27-year old university student who was choked to death by a man reported to have been her ex-boyfriend in the Aegean province of Muğla,  this week, mourning the latest woman to have been murdered by an abusive and violent man.

“We need to fully implement the Law No. 6284 on the Protection of the Family and the Prevention of Violence against Women. We should show zero tolerance for the murders of women. The murder of an oppressed is also a great attack on our civilization, our culture, our belief and our human values,” Bahçeli said.

“The increase in violence and murder cases against women stifles our social peace. We must prevent this,” he stated.

İYİ (Good) Party leader Meral Akşener also voiced support in favor of Istanbul Convention. “Actually, this is a mentality issue, this mentality needs to be tackled, but struggling with this mentality is an area that has costs,” she said in a videoconference meeting with female journalists.

Turkey’s decision of ratifying the Istanbul Convention was “wrong,” ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) deputy chair Numan Kurtulmuş said on July 2 and indicated that the government might consider withdrawing from the convention, triggered the anger of feminist groups across the country.

 “There are two issues in this convention which we do not approve of. First is the gender issue and the other is the sexual orientation issue. There are also other issues but these two have been the concepts that have played into the hands of LGBT and marginal elements. They have taken refuge behind these concepts,” Kurtulmuş said. “The concept of ‘struggling with subjects such as so-called honor, tradition and customs are the responsibility of the government” is included in the treaty. These are never acceptable issues,” he stated.

Introduced in 2011 and ratified in the Turkish Parliament in 2012, the convention specifically targets violence against women and obliges ratifying countries to prevent gender-based crime, provide adequate protection and services for victims and assure the prosecution of perpetrators.