President Joe Biden slammed on Sunday Turkey’s decision to withdraw from the Istanbul Convention combatting domestic violence and violence against women.
In a White House statement, Biden said Turkey’s withdrawal from the Istanbul Convention was “deeply disappointing, sudden and unwarranted.”
The US President noted that we are seeing an increase in domestic violence and violence against women, “including reports of rising femicide in Turkey, the first nation to sign the convention.”
He added that nations should be strengthening their commitments to work to end violence against women instead of leaving agreements “designed to protect women and hold abusers accountable.”
This is a disheartening step backward for the international movement to end violence against women globally,” Biden added.
With a Presidential decree issued early this morning, Turkey has withdrawn from the Istanbul Convention which is the first ever convention particularly to combat and prevent violence against women and domestic violence.#İstanbulConventionSavesLives pic.twitter.com/DfxnX0wb0b
— Amnesty Turkey (@aforgutu) March 20, 2021
Blow to women’s rights movement
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan ended Turkey’s participation in the Council of Europe agreement through an overnight decree issued early Saturday. The move was a blow to the country’s women’s rights movement, which says domestic violence and femicide are on the rise.
The Turkish Presidency’s Directorate of Communications issued a statement Sunday explaining that Turkey’s unilateral decision resulted from the agreement being used to protect LGBT rights.
“The Istanbul Convention, originally intended to promote women’s rights, was hijacked by a group of people attempting to normalize homosexuality – which is incompatible with Turkey’s social and family values. Hence, the decision to withdraw,” the statement said.
Violence in Turkey is a serious problem
Domestic violence in Turkey has been a serious problem for decades. In 2013, a poll conducted by Turkey’s popular Hurriyet newspaper found that 34 percent of Turkish men think violence against women is occasionally necessary.
Additionally, the poll showed that 28 percent of the participants say violence can be used against women.
Patriarchal attitudes towards women are considered a reason why Turkey has a high prevalence of domestic violence.
Honor killings have been a method of domestic violence used in Turkey for centuries, as society has been particularly conservative on issues regarding family ethics.
According to data from the World Health Organization, approximately four out of ten of women in Turkey (38 percent) are subject to domestic violence from a husband or partner in their lifetime.
The figure for Europe is still high, at 25 percent; however, it is significantly lower compared to Turkey’s.