President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has withdrawn Turkey from an International Convention on women’s rights aimed at tackling violence against women and promoting Emancipation. The decree was published in the Turkish state newspaper on Saturday.

Activists point out that the pact is crucial for reducing the increasing number of cases of domestic violence in Turkey.

The treaty, also known as the Istanbul Convention, was signed by Turkey in 2011. Ankara did not explain the withdrawal. Erdogan AKP officials said last year that the government was considering withdrawing from the agreement. Then there was a political conflict about how to reduce domestic violence.

The content of the agreement has been criticised for a long time from a conservative point of view. In this way, it would undermine Turkish values and values about family and thereby encourage violence. Critics also believe that the principle of gender equality in the treaty promotes homosexuality.

President Erdogan has previously condemned violence against women and said earlier this month that his government wants to completely eliminate such violence. However, critics believe that the government has not done enough since 2011. Also, the withdrawal of the pact would do no good for Turkey’s candidacy for accession to the European Union, opponents say.

Turkey does not keep official statistics on Violence Against Women. According to the Health Organisation WHO, 38% of Turkish women face violence within a relationship. In Europe, this is about 25%.

Moreover, Turkey is not the only country where the pact is under discussion. In Poland, too, there have been calls within the government to withdraw. Last year, the government had the treaty examined whether it was contrary to the Polish constitution.

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