Written by Mihir Shreshti, a grade 10 student.
To understand the reason behind the protests by women in Turkey, we must first learn more about:
- Mr Erdogan’s Decision
- Istanbul Convention
- Effect of withdrawal from Istanbul Convention
Mr Erdogan’s Decision
Mr Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the president of Turkey, decided to withdraw from the 2011 Istanbul convention. The 2011 Istanbul convention is an international treaty that is designed to prevent and combat violence against women. So, why did he do this? President Erdogan’s spokesperson, Mr Fahrettin Altun justified the withdrawal by stating that the treaties original intention of protecting women’s rights had been “hijacked by a group of people attempting to normalise homosexuality.” This means that President Erdogan believes that the purpose of the treaty was being defeated, by people who were trying to promote gender inequality. The President also said that this undermines Turkey’s social and family values. This refers to thoughts like- the treaty encourages divorce, and doesn’t align with family values.
What is the Istanbul Convention?
The council of Europe convention, better known as the Istanbul Convention is a human rights treaty, which aims to combat violence against women and promote equality between men & women. Turkey was one of the first countries to sign this treaty in 2011.
Effect of withdrawal from the Istanbul Convention
Withdrawal from the Istanbul Convention has caused great anxiety and unrest to the women of Turkey, who have poured onto the streets in protest against the President’s decision. In addition to this, women’s right activists, female lawyers, judges etc are insisting that the president cannot withdraw Turkey from the treaty. Turkey’s “We will stop femicide” platform reported 300 femicides( and 171 suspicious deaths in the year 2020 alone. (Femicide is when female women, children and even infants are killed, due to their gender.) Protesters are using slogans such as “Istanbul Conventions saves lives” and “We will not agree to one man’s decision”.
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