With a decree signed by President Erdoğan on March 20, 2021, Turkey had asked for the revocation of its participation in the Istanbul Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence, after March 14, 2012 was instead the first country to ratify it.
Turkey is the first country to officially exit the Istanbul Convention, the international treaty, signed by 46 states, which aims to prevent violence against women.
The Istanbul Convention is “the first legally binding international instrument that creates a comprehensive legal framework to protect women against all forms of violence”, and is focused on preventing domestic violence, protecting victims and prosecuting offenders.
Adopted by the Council of Europe on 11 May 2011, the Convention enters into force in 2014 and is signed by the European Union in 2017. In 2019 the European Parliament adopts a resolution asking all member states to accede to the treaty, urging all have signed it but not yet ratified it to do so without hesitation. Ratifying the convention means being legally bound by its provisions and enforcing rules aimed at preventing gender-based violence, protecting victims and punishing those responsible.
In Italy, the Chamber of Deputies approves the ratification of the Convention on 28 May 2013 and on 19 June the Senate converts the text into law. Other countries, however, do not follow this line. In 2020, for example, Hungary refused to ratify the treaty, after signing it in 2014, and Slovakia is also on this position. Also in 2020, after ratifying the Convention in 2015, Poland instead started the formal process of withdrawing from the treaty.
The protests in the streets of associations and opposition parties and the appeals in court were of no avail. “Turkey, underlines Nesibe Kırış, a lawyer and human rights activist, has been dealing with femicide for a long time. In 2020, 409 women were killed in the country, reaching a new record, while this year, 189 women were killed. Domestic violence and femicide remain a major problem. Withdrawal from the Convention is seen as a significant step backwards in the state’s efforts to promote women’s rights, especially considering that gender inequality and violence against women remain a serious concern in Turkish society.
A decision defined as “shameful and dangerous” by Amnesty International, because it sets “a terrifying precedent”.
For us at Steadfast this is the signal of a political orientation that is dangerous for women’s rights, in a historical moment in which, due to the pandemic, the condition of women is in extreme suffering from various points of view (in terms, for example, of job opportunities and number of femicides).