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CHP challenges Turkey’s withdrawal from Istanbul Convention at top court

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Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) has taken a presidential decree that pulled Turkey out of an international treaty to combat domestic violence to the country’s highest administrative court, demanding its cancellation.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan sparked outrage in Turkey and the international community after he issued the decree on March 20 that withdrew Turkey from the Istanbul Convention.

CHP women’s branches head Aylin Nazlıaka said during a news conference at CHP headquarters after filing the petition at the Council of State on Monday that the Istanbul Convention is still in force and that its annulment is not possible by disregarding the Turkish Parliament.

The Council of Europe Convention on Preventing and Combating Violence against Women and Domestic Violence, better known as the Istanbul Convention, is an international accord designed to protect women’s rights and prevent domestic violence in societies and was signed by member countries of the Council of Europe in 2011.

Nazlıaka said at least 7,500 women have been killed in Turkey during the rule of Erdoğan’s Justice and Development Party (AKP) and that six women were lost to male violence in just the 24 hours following Turkey’s withdrawal from the convention.

“That’s why we will continue to say that the Istanbul Convention is a life preserver for women,” said Nazlıaka.

Protests continue

In the meantime, hundreds of women across Turkey on Saturday took to the streets for the second weekend in a row to protest Erdoğan’s decision to withdraw from the Istanbul Convention, Agence France-Presse reported.

Justifying the decision to withdraw, the presidency last week claimed the treaty had been “hijacked by a group of people attempting to normalize homosexuality” which it said was “incompatible” with Turkey’s “social and family values.”

There was a flood of reaction from the West and international organizations including the United Nations, which called on Turkey to reconsider its decision.

Hundreds of women urged Erdoğan to reverse the move in Kadıköy on the Asian side of İstanbul on Saturday, an AFP correspondent said.

There were also rainbow flags in the crowd, and one placard read “LGBTI+ rights are human rights.”

In Ankara, a smaller group of women protested in the heart of the city center, surrounded by riot police.

There were chants of “We’re not scared, we won’t be silent, we won’t obey” in İstanbul and the Turkish capital.

There was fresh anger in Turkey on Saturday after a 17-year-old pregnant girl was stabbed to death in the Aegean province of İzmir, state news agency Anadolu reported.

The suspect was reported to be the man she was living with and her unborn child was also killed in the attack.

Violence against women and femicide are serious problems in Turkey, with daily media coverage of the issue.

In 2020, 300 women were murdered and the rate shows no sign of slowing with 87 women killed so far this year, according to the women’s rights group We Will Stop Femicide Platform.

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