Turkey’s ruling AKP to finalise decision on treaty on violence against women next week

(Updates with nationwide demonstrations)

Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) is set to decide next week whether to withdraw Turkey out of a Council of Europe human rights treaty against domestic and gender-based violence, Reuters reported on Wednesday, citing a senior party official. 

Plans by the AKP to possibly withdraw from the Istanbul Convention, which Turkey was the first to ratify in 2012, have sparked a nationwide debate in the country, which has registered an increase in violence against women in recent years.

The ruling party will decide in the next week whether to initiate legal steps to pull out of the accord, the official told Reuters.

“There is a small majority (in the party) who argue it is right to withdraw,” the official said, adding however that abandoning the convention during an uptick in violence against women would send the wrong signals.

Turkey’s conservative media and circles have long stood against the convention and the law, alleging that it encourages violence by undermining family structures.

Backers of the accord maintain that both the deal and legislation approved in its wake - Turkish Law No.6284 for protection of the family and prevention of violence against women - need to be implemented more stringently in the country, where a total of 146 women were killed by men in the first half of 2020, according to the rights group We Will Stop Femicides. 

Meanwhile, Turkish women around the country took to the streets on Wednesday to demand better implementation of the accord and Law no. 6264, T24 news site reported.

The protest follows an online campaign in the wake of the killing of 27-year-old university student Pınar Gültekin by her ex-boyfriend. 

Gültekin has become the newest face of a campaign against femicide and gender-based violence in the country. 

“We will not give up on our rights and our lives,’’ and “Implement the Istanbul Convention,’’ women chanted. 

Ten women were detained following police intervention on women marching in the western province of İzmir, ANKA news agency reported.