Istanbul Treaty and Turkish Governments Changing Attitude!

Istanbul | Government | 18th January 2022 | Virtual Wire


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What is Istanbul Treaty? Getting the name from the city it was signed in, Istanbul, this treaty is one of the cornerstones of the modern social and political life.

With the contribution of more than 40 European states, Istanbul treaty, also known as Istanbul convention, was signed in 2011. To this day it the most far-reached taken action against domestic violence and femicide. The Istanbul Treaty recognizes the fact that violence against women is a violation of human rights and discriminatory behaviour towards women. Over the past 10 years it has helped numerous states to better regulate their legislations and policies, in matter concerning violence against woman. And as a victim centred convention, it ensures the protection and empowerment of women and in wider sense contributes to the goal of equality of woman and men.

The convention covers various types of gender-based violence against women. Now when we say gender-based violence, what is it reference to? It refers to the violence directed at women because of the mere fact that they are women and it differs from other types of violence with the fact that this type of violence against woman is both cause and result of the unequal power relations in our society between man and woman, which lead to woman being in a subordinate status to man in public and private life. The term gender refers to socially assigned, stereotypical roles that are expected of women in society and how these roles contribute to the acceptance of violence against woman. It does not however refer to the definition of sex. It simply tries to stress the number of inequalities between women -or female presenting- and man. Istanbul Treaty and the case of the Turkey’s Withdrawal from the Convention.

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The city that gave the convention its name, İstanbul, is the cultural and economic hotspot of Turkey. And even though Turkey was the host of this important treaty in March 20 2021, right before the 10th anniversary of the convention it has decided to withdraw from it. Making them the first and only country in the Council of Europe to have withdrawn from an international human rights convention. The argument made by the conservative side of Turkey starting from 2019, is that the Istanbul Treaty’s principles on gender equality and non-discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation, undermine family values and promote homosexuality. The 3rd and 4th articles of the convention, which regulates the social gender equality, are being understood as promoting homosexual relationships and also protecting it under law.

According to the arguments of the conservative side, it negatively affects the social infrastructure of the Turkish society. And also, with the article 48, that gives woman to right to get a restraining order against men, only with a declaration made by the said women, is being interpreted as an article that will break apart families. Because of the fact that, the article 48 proposes the prohibition of mediation and conciliation processes related to violence between the parties. The Problem of Domestic Violence and Femicide in Turkey Just in the year 2019, the year where the discussions about the Istanbul Treaty started in Turkey, 474 women has been a victim of murder. 185 of them with firearms, 101 stabbings, 29 of the by strangulation, 27 battered, 19 being thrown from high distance, 6 by being forced to drink chemicals, 6 by being burnt alive and 101 of them by undetermined causes.

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This number only increased the following year. Going up to 527 victims of femicide. And these numbers do not include the ones that fell victim to domestic violence. So, to say that turkey does not have problem regarding femicide would be unjust. Reactions of the Right Campaigners in Turkey We Will Stop Femicide Platform's (KCDP) secretary general, Fidan Ataselim, said "millions of women" could not be ignored, imprisoned, effaced or silenced. "Withdraw the decision, implement the convention”, she tweeted. Numerous campaigns and movement have been started in Turkey as a response to the government's withdrawal from the convention.

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