Women protest possible withdrawal from Istanbul Convention
Turkish women poured into rallies across the country over fears of their government’s potential withdrawal from the Istanbul Convention, a Council of Europe treaty aiming to combat violence against women, following calls made by women’s rights groups on social media.
Women at the rallies held posters reading, “Istanbul Convention Saves Lives” and shouted slogans, saying, “Femicides are political.”
The protests in Istanbul, Ankara and 13 other cities went on without any problems, but police in the Aegean province of İzmir used force to break up the protest of several hundred women.
Some 16 people were detained at the İzmir protest after police intervention.
İzmir Mayor Tunç Soyer demanded the release of the women in custody, adding that his wife, Neptün Soyer, also participated in the protest.
The Council of Europe convention had led to the passing of a bill, also known as Article 6284, in 2014, which established legal mechanisms to combat gender-based violence and discrimination.
Turkey was the first country to sign and ratify the treaty.
The heated public discussions come amid an increase in the country’s domestic violence cases over the past few months.
In mid-July, the brutal murder of 27-year-old Pınar Gültekin by her alleged ex-partner sparked outrage, galvanizing Turkey’s women’s movements.
Politicians, academics and NGOs also reacted to the murder and mounting femicides in Turkey, where more than 205 women have been killed so far in 2020, according to the We Will Stop Femicides Platform (Kadın Cinayetlerini Durduracağız Platformu).
Meanwhile, the Turkey Thought Platform, an ultraconservative group, had been pushing hard for Turkey to leave the treaty, but announced it would abandon the issue entirely, stating they were “worn out” by the fight, led by women in Turkey who had gone to great lengths over the past months to demand the government back down from its intention.
The group had claimed the convention “accelerates the erosion of family values” and “promotes LGBTI+ lifestyles.”