Turkey’s women’s treaty exit legitimises crimes against women, Elif Şafak tells Angelina Jolie

Turkey’s withdrawal from a European treaty aimed at protecting women against violence is a major setback with catastrophic consequences for women, Turkish writer Elif Şafak told actress Angelina Jolie in an interview published in Time Magazine.

The Istanbul Convention is the most progressive international treaty, which protects anyone who is vulnerable to violence, Şafak said and Ankara’s decision to withdraw from it tells perpetrators that “their crimes will be legitimized.’’

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan pulled Turkey out of the Istanbul Convention on women’s rights with an executive order last month, in a move that has sparked heavy criticism by Turkey’s Western allies and led to protests across the country.

According to Şafak, pulling out of the convention is sending a double message. 

“You are telling women that their lives are not important’’ while “telling perpetrators that their crimes will be legitimized,’’ Şafak told Jolie.

The treaty calls for signatory states to ensure the implementation of the convention with no discrimination based on a number of characteristics, including sex, gender, sexual orientation and gender identity and Ankara maintained it was being used to “normalize homosexuality” and undermine Turkish family values.

“I think this is a major setback, which will have catastrophic consequences for women, for children, and for the LGBTQ community,’’ Şafak said.

“There was already an escalation in domestic violence cases in Turkey,’’ she added. “At a time when women needed protection the most, the government is doing the exact opposite.’’

Turkey’s withdrawal from the treaty arrives amid an escalation in violence against women and LGBT persons in the country, with particularly violent murders of several women shaking the country in the summer and fall of last year. 

This block is broken or missing. You may be missing content or you might need to enable the original module.