Women continue to die from domestic violence while Turkey debates ditching the Istanbul Convention

President Erdogan underscored his party’s commitment to end violence against women, says Sebnem Arsu, but he remains ambiguous about whether it would withdraw from the convention ratified by parliament

Saturday 15 August 2020 14:39
The Turkish president lashed out at the LGBT+ community in Thursday’s speech
The Turkish president lashed out at the LGBT+ community in Thursday’s speech

Turkey has seen dismembered women stuffed into garbage bins or placed in barrels after being killed. They were variously set ablaze, stabbed, and shot dozens of times by their male partners. In total, 417 have died in domestic violence cases in 2019 alone.

The country’s possible withdrawal from the Istanbul Convention, an international deal aimed at putting an end to femicides and protecting women from violence, on the other hand, turned into a massive debate when Turkey’s president Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s ruling Justice and Development Party, or AKP, failed to categorically deny hardliners a platform for deliberation.

A group of almost all-male far-right conservatives, including the Turkey Youth Foundation – whose advisory board includes the president’s son Bilal Erdogan – called the deal a menace to society, a threat to the traditional family and promoting homosexuality. Last but not least, Abdurrahman Dilipak, a far-right columnist of the Yeni Akit newspaper, even used insulting phrases against women’s rights groups who supported the convention, including Kadem, which is deputy-chaired by President Erdogan’s daughter.

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