Turkey’s exit from Istanbul Convention a ‘step backward,’ says Biden

U.S. President Joe Biden on Sunday condemned a decision by the Turkish government to withdraw from a European treaty protecting women’s rights, calling the move a "disheartening step backward,’’ in the global struggle for violence against women. 

In a statement published by the White House, Biden pointed to reports of rising femicide in Turkey and said the country’s "sudden and unwarranted withdrawal’’ from the Istanbul Convention was "deeply disappointing.’’

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan pulled Turkey out of the Council of Europe Convention on Preventing and Combating Violence against Women and Domestic Violence, with an executive order published in the Official Gazette on Friday night, in a move that has been met with condemnation and protests across the country.

"Countries should be working to strengthen and renew their commitments to ending violence against women, not rejecting international treaties designed to protect women and hold abusers accountable,’’ Biden said.

Turkey, among the first signatories of the landmark convention, has seen an escalation in violence against women and LGBT persons, with particularly violent murders of several women shaking the country in the summer and fall of last year

At least 33 women were murdered in February at the hands of men, most of them intimate partners or close family members. 

Another 57 women were assaulted, at least one child was murdered, and at least four children were sexually abused in the same timeframe, while 104 cases of women being forced into prostitution were recorded, according to a report by news network Bianet.