Peoples’ Democratic Party’s (HDP) women MPs took action in İstanbul and Diyarbakır for the İstanbul Convention, which was opened for signature 10 years ago today (May 11).
In Turkey’s southeastern province of Diyarbakır, HDP Women’s Assembly Spokesperson Ayşe Acar Başaran made a statement with HDP’s women MPs, who hung a banner on Diyarbakır’s City Walls with the names of 106 women who were killed in Turkey in the first four months of 2021.
She said, “Women are currently organizing demonstrations regarding the İstanbul Convention all over the world. We are going through a a pandemic, there is a complete lockdown, and women are still subjected to violence.”
Violence during lockdown
Başaran stated, “Women are not protected despite all our calls during lockdown, because the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government has not given up its misogynist policies since the day it started politics. It says, ‘Confine yourselves to home’ but women continue to be subjected to violence, hunger, and unemployment at home” and continued:
“If the İstanbul Convention had been implemented, 106 women with their names on this banner would still be alive. The rights of children who were subjected to harassment and abuse today would be protected by law, they would not be exposed to abuse.
“If the İstanbul Convention had been implemented, men would not have had the courage to call and threaten women from prisons, and they would not have used such reckless violence, thinking that the male judiciary would justify, legitimize and support their own crimes.
“If the İstanbul Convention had not been annulled, a woman who had a protection order issued 23 times would not have been murdered, women would not have faced gender inequality and discrimination every day.
‘We will continue the struggle’
“We will continue to fight for the implementation of the İstanbul Convention. Because the Istanbul Convention has not been annulled.
“The İstanbul Convention is in effect. It is not annulled because a single man said, ‘I have signed it.’ Women haven’t said their last word yet. This matter will not end until we say it is.”
|Women from HDP on İstiklal AvenueIn İstanbul, HDP’s women MPs Serpil Kemalbay, Dilşat Canbaz, Züleyha Gülüm and Oya Ersoy marched on İstiklal Avenue, holding a banner with the names of 106 women killed by men.|
A motion to the parliament
HDP İstanbul MP Oya Ersoy submitted a motion to the Grand National Assembly of Turkey (TBMM) to investigate the consequences of the decision to withdraw from the İstanbul Convention.
Ersoy reminded that the İstanbul Convention, which defends women’s rights to prevent violence against women and domestic violence in the most comprehensive way and of which Turkey is the first signatory, was unilaterally terminated by Presidential Decision on March 20.
Stating that after this decision (at least) 41 women were killed, Ersoy said that 10 women have been killed by men since March 20, despite restraining orders.
Violation of rights
Stating that the decision to withdraw from the İstanbul Convention will threaten the lives of women, LGBTI+s and the ones who were subjected to violence, Ersoy briefly continued as follows:
“Following the decision to withdraw from the İstanbul Convention, women have lost their lives despite the restraining orders, LGBTI+s have been subjected to violence and threats.
“Women who opposed the Presidency’s decision were detained, fired from their jobs, and steps were taken to eliminate gender equality.
“The step of withdrawing from the İstanbul Convention is the usurpation of women’s lives and rights, and insisting on this decision will increase the dimensions of violence, murders, and inequality.
“The consequences of the decision to withdraw from the convention should be investigated and shared with the public.
“TBMM, which ratified the convention in 2011 and made it come into force, should conduct a thorough research on this issue.”
The Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence – the İstanbul Convention – was opened for signature in İstanbul on May 11, 2011. Turkey became the first country to ratify the Convention in 2012, followed by 33 other countries from 2013 to 2019. The Convention came into force on August 1, 2014.
Turkey has withdrawn from the İstanbul Convention with a Presidential decision published in the Official Gazette on March 20, 2021.
The decision in question said that “the Council of Europe Convention on Preventing and Combating Violence Against Women and Domestic Violence, which was signed by Turkey on May 11, 2011 and approved with the Cabinet Decree no. 2012/2816 on February 10, 2012, shall be terminated on the part of Turkey as per the Article 3 of the Presidential Decree no. 9.”
Following this Presidential decision published at midnight, several social media users, women’s rights defenders, lawyers and politicians, denounced the decision, recalling that the convention was unanimously approved at the Parliament and stressing that it is not possible for Turkey to withdraw from an international convention with a Presidential decision.
After the Presidential decision pulling Turkey out of the İstanbul Convention was met with criticisms and objections in both Turkey and around the world, the Communications Directorate of the Presidency released a written statement about the issue on March 22.
“As known, Turkey was the first signatory to the Istanbul Convention,” the statement noted, arguing that the “İstanbul 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 protests are still ongoing.