Representatives of Turkish women’s rights organizations and lawyers will meet early on April 28 outside the Council of State, Turkey’s highest administrative court, in Ankara, before the court announces its decision on the appeal requesting the cancellation of Turkey’s withdrawal from the Istanbul Convention, Turkey Minute reported, citing the daily Birgün reported.
The Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence, better known as the Istanbul Convention, is an international agreement to protect the rights of women and preventing domestic violence in societies and was opened for signature by Council of Europe member countries in 2011.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan sparked outrage in Turkey and the international community after issuing a decree in March 2021 that withdrew the country from the international treaty, which requires governments to pass legislation prosecuting perpetrators of domestic violence and similar abuses as well as marital rape and female genital mutilation.
Amid calls from women’s rights organizations and world leaders, including US President Joe Biden, for the reinstatement of the Istanbul Convention, the Council of State has so far rejected numerous calls for the annulment of Erdoğan’s executive decree withdrawing Turkey from the convention.
However, new appeals have recently been filed with the court requesting the annulment of the relevant presidential decree, and the court’s 10th branch is expected to announce its decision around 9:45 a.m. on April 28, Birgün said.
Nearly 1,000 lawyers will be among those following Thursday’s hearing, lawyer Yelda Koçak of the Women’s Platform for Equality (EŞİK) in Birgün said on Wednesday, adding that they would be in the highest court with all their “enthusiasm, their will and their hope”.
Elif Ege, a volunteer with Mor Çatı Women’s Shelter, said Turkey’s withdrawal from the Istanbul Convention, which it had benefited from to build solidarity with women, had taken away the safety of Turkish women.
“The exit from the convention has both increased the faulty and incomplete practices in progress [regarding women’s rights] and took away our security. Over the past year, we have witnessed a number of these shortcomings. … The Istanbul Convention had proposed a holistic policy. Our fight [to reinstate it] won’t end,” Ege said.
President and lawyer of the October 29 Women’s Association, Şenal Sarıhan, also told Birgün that the decision to withdraw from the agreement was “illegal” and therefore they expected the Supreme Court comes out in favor of Turkish women if he intended to make a decision. in accordance with the law.
Sarıhan also referred to recent remarks by Supreme Court prosecutor Aytaç Kurt, who said that it was impossible for Turkey to withdraw from the Istanbul Convention without the passage of a new law in parliament that would have made withdrawal legally possible.
The prosecutor, who submitted his opinion to the 10th chamber of the Council of State in March, said: “The Istanbul Convention, which concerns fundamental rights and freedoms and was adopted in accordance with the relevant procedures, must remain in force. .
“We are at a point where we can call the murders of women in Turkey gendercide. The right to life is one of the most precious human rights. If you don’t have it, the other rights are worthless. That is why we will not abandon the Istanbul Convention,” Sarıhan added.
Femicide and violence against women are serious problems in Turkey, where women are killed, raped or beaten every day. Many critics claim that the main reason for this situation is the policies of the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government, which protects violent and abusive men by granting them impunity.
According to the We Will Stop Femicide platform (Kadın Cinayetlerini Durduracağız Platformu), 280 women were murdered in Turkey in 2021.
A survey conducted by Metropoll revealed last year that 52.3% of Turks were against withdrawing from the convention. While more than a majority of participants oppose it, 26.7% approve and 10.2% have no opinion.