Violence women, Ankara withdraws: “Istanbul Convention harms the family”

Violence against women, Turkey withdraws from the Istanbul Convention

The Turkey exits the 2011 Istanbul Convention, leaving a great void on two of the country’s most serious problems: domestic violence and femicides. Drafted ten years in the Turkish city, the Istanbul Convention is the first binding treaty in the world to prevent and combat violence against women. A charter that requires governments to adopt legislation capable of prosecuting domestic violence and abuse, as well as marital rape and female genital mutilation. But now, for the country’s conservative group, the Convention “harms family unity and encourages divorce.” His references to equality, according to conservatives, “were exploited by the LGBT community”. The decision, signed by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and published in the official gazette, it comes following the demonstrations and controversies of last summer, regarding the intention expressed by the AKP, Erdogan’s party, to abandon the protocol. Only on 8 March the Turkish president had condemned “all forms of violence or coercion, physical and psychological” against women, calling them “crimes against humanity.

Violence against women, Turkey’s dramatic numbers

Crimes that in Turkey continue to score dramatic numbers. According to data from the platform against femicides (Kadin Cinayetlerini durduracagiz platformu), 74 women have already been killed by men in 2021, after at least 300 cases and 171 suspicious deaths had been counted in 2020. In 2019 and 2018, 474 and 440 femicides were counted in Turkey, respectively. Among the suspected cases there are not only deaths that occurred in circumstances yet to be clarified but also suicides, to which many women find themselves forced by the family climate of repudiation and hatred that can trigger for a relationship that the family does not approve, or for having refused arranged marriages. A psychological oppression put in place to avoid murders that would lead to sentences for a male member of the family.

It is a situation to which the Turkish authorities have tried to put a stop to it, with 5,748 prison sentences imposed last year. A minimal number, if we consider that, according to data provided by the Ministry of the Interior, in 2020 as many as 271,927 men were subjected to restrictions imposed by judicial authorities, 6,050 men were convicted of domestic violence or were placed in detoxification centers from drugs and alcohol, 99 women were forced to change identity and residence, 409 women had to leave the workplace and 333 electronic bracelets were applied to control the movements of stalkers.

Also, on the same day Erdogan with a presidential decree he sacked the governor of his central bank and replaced him with the economist and politician Sahap Kavcioglu. The removal comes after the Central Bank decided to raise its interest rate to 19% on Thursday. The sharp rise in the cost of money is intended to avoid the explosion of inflation, in light of the weakening of the Turkish lira, but the government argues that such high interest rates depress investment.

Violence against women, Boschi (Iv): “Every step backwards on the protection of rights is a wound for everyone”

Upon news of the signing of the decree on the exit of the Turkey since the Istanbul Convention, the world of Italian politics has not been slow to respond. Maria Elena Boschi, president of the deputies of Italia Viva, in a tweet declares: “Bad news: Turkey leaves the Istanbul Convention against violence against women. Every step backwards on the protection of women’s rights is a wound for everyone. And it drives Turkey away. from the EU “. Also for Teresa Bellanova (Iv), Deputy Minister of Infrastructure and Sustainable Mobility “Turkey’s decision to withdraw from the Istanbul Convention, the European treaty that commits the signatory nations to a strong commitment against violence against women, is serious.” And despite the assurances of the government Turkish, who justified the decision by explaining that national legislation already protects women – adds Bellanova – I consider this choice profoundly wrong. This important battle to ensure protection and equal opportunities for women must see us united in a global effort. We cannot afford delays and defections. “From the opposite political front, the senator of Forza Italia Enrico Aimi, group leader in the Foreign Affairs Committee, states: “Turkey’s decision to withdraw from the Istanbul Convention is very serious, however, without any prior notice to the Council of Europe. This is an unacceptable action for the European Union, which endangers the safety and protection of women, and which speaks volumes about Turkey’s political will to embrace Western values ​​as well as human rights that are part of European culture and historical battles. Today more than ever we need to start reflection on relations with Turkey and the ways in which the European Union wants to continue to speak with a country that proves to be light years away from the principles of Western democracies “.


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