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Opposition leader claims domestic violence increased in Turkey after İstanbul Convention

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Temel Karamollaoğlu, chairman of the Islamist opposition Felicity Party (SP), has claimed that cases of violence targeting women increased in Turkey following the adoption of the İstanbul Convention in 2012.

The Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence, better known as the İstanbul Convention, is the world’s first binding instrument to promote women’s rights and prevent domestic violence in societies — from marital rape to female genital mutilation — and was signed by member countries of the Council of Europe in 2011.

“If we take into account the statistics of the past 15 years, we can see that we have recently witnessed a nearly tenfold increase in incidents of violence against women in Turkey. We cannot accept that. Reports show that some 300 women were killed by men in Turkey in 2020, while 170 women were found dead under suspicious circumstances,” the SP leader said.

Recent surveys conducted among women revealed that violence is what women in Turkey are most concerned about, Karamollaoğlu added.

“We don’t want to see violence targeting women become an ordinary issue for this country. We are responsible for taking the necessary steps to end this. But it’s not possible to end it by way of international agreements. We already did that, Turkey ratified the İstanbul Convention. What has it done? You can’t protect women without protecting the institution of the family, which is the foundation of society,” he argued.

A report published by Sezgin Tanrıkulu, a human rights defender and deputy from the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), showed an upward trend in cases of domestic violence in Turkey during the 18-year rule of the AKP, which has witnessed the killing of 6,732 women by men so far.

A large number of femicides and other incidents of violence targeting women in Turkey have drawn public attention to the inadequacy of law enforcement in ensuring that the perpetrators face legal consequences.

There have been discussions within the government and among conservative journalists concerning a possible withdrawal from the İstanbul Convention, which they criticize, saying it undermines traditional Turkish values.

Amnesty International warned on August 5 that Turkish authorities should fully implement the İstanbul Convention rather than withdraw from it.

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