Turkey will review measures in women’s rights convention, Erdoğan says

Turkey will review measures implemented to curb violence against women contained in a convention the country ratified in 2012, Cumhuriyet newspaper reported Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan as telling his party officials.

Some members of parliament from the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) complained during a meeting with Erdoğan on Tuesday about the falling marriage rate among young people. The politicians called on the government to devise and implement measures to encourage people to marry earlier, Cumhuriyet said. 

Erdoğan said the issue had been discussed by the Turkish presidency’s Supreme Consultation Board. 

“We will review the Istanbul Convention again,” Erdoğan said, adding that Turkey needed to increase its birth rate. 

The Council of Europe Convention on Preventing and Combating Violence Against Women and Domestic Violence  has for years been criticised by Turkish Islamists, who say it empowers LGBTQ+ groups and is damaging the institution of the family.

Dubbed the Istanbul Convention after the city where it was signed in 2011, the regulation obligates signatories to combat discrimination on the basis of sex, sexual orientation and gender identity, as well as take precautions against domestic violence, compensate its victims and sentence perpetrators proportionally.

Erdoğan said in a meeting last year that the Istanbul Convention was not binding, Elif Çakır, a columnist in the Islamist opposition Karar newspaper, reported

The president sparked debate on the marriage age after he criticised young people last month for marrying late.

“Unfortunately, they do not marry at an early age. Most of them marry in their 30s, or they remain single. How can there be such a thing? The number of people who aren’t getting married is also increasing,” he said.

Following Erdoğan’s comments, a columnist for the pro-government Sabah newspaper said the government should tax single people to encourage marriage. 

“My proposal is that, if people with children are making sacrifices to ensure the continuation of the system, then single people should compensate for this,” Mevlüt Tezel said.