Erdogan withdraws Turkey from international accord preventing violence against women

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On Saturday, Turkey’s official gazette reported the country withdrawal from an international accord meant for promoting safety of women from any form of violence or ill-treatment. The move hailed by Turkey’s conservative groups, angered many rights groups across the country, who slammed the withdrawal as a regressive move which could lead to rise in domestic violence cases.

The international agreement was signed by Ankara in 2011 along with 45 nations including the European Union. The treaty aimed at preventing, prosecuting and eliminating crimes against women and promoting their equality in society. The authorities did not provide any reason for pulling the nation out of the international convention but debate around dropping the treaty started last year after the officials from Erdogan’s party raised the issue.

The conservative faction of the country believe that the treaty was endangering family structures, encouraging divorces and even accused the LGBT community of gaining acceptance in society due its references towards equality. They believed that the treaty’s feature of gender equality was encouraging homosexuality as the principle prohibited discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.

The country’s family, labour and social policies minister, Zehra Zumrut, took to Twitter to emphasise that the country’s constitution and domestic regulations were strong enough to “guarantee of the women’s rights”. She said, “The guarantee of women’s rights are the current regulations in our bylaws, primarily our constitution. Our judicial system is dynamic and strong enough to implement new regulations as needed.”

Many observers believed that move might reduce Turkey’s chance of admission into the European Union, which it has been eyeing for years. Besides, the move could also prove to be counterproductive to Erdogan’s efforts of trying to brush up the country’s image by adopting ‘human rights action plan’ earlier this month.

According to the data put out by World Health Organisation, about 38% of women in Turkey have faced threat of violence from their partner in their lifetime, where as the number is down to 25% in Europe.Gokce Gokcen, deputy chairperson of the main opposition CHP party said that exiting the treaty would mean “keeping women second-class citizens and letting them be killed”.” Despite you and your evil, we will stay alive and bring back the convention,” she said on Twitter.

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