Murders of women escalate in Turkey as 28 killed in March: report

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As Turkey receives growing criticism for withdrawing from an international treaty to combat domestic violence, a report released by the Stop the Murder of Women Platform shows that 28 women in Turkey were victims of fatal domestic violence in March.

The report also showed 19 other women were found dead under suspicious circumstances.

In a move that attracted widespread criticism from several countries, international organizations and rights groups, Turkey withdrew from the Istanbul Convention, the Council of Europe’s (CoE) binding treaty to prevent and combat violence against women, through a presidential decree issued by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on March 20.

According to the platform’s report the reasons for the murder of 20 of the women were unknown, while seven of them were killed by men for requesting a divorce, for refusing to engage in a romantic relationship, for rejecting a marriage proposal or for failing to reconcile with their former partners. One of the women was killed for financial reasons.

Women’s rights organizations have for years been trying to raise awareness about the increase in violence against women that has taken place in the last decade.

In its statement, the platform lamented that Turkey withdrew from the Istanbul Convention at a time when women continue to be brutally killed and subjected to violence, discrimination and inequality in the country.

“When it is fully and effectively implemented, the Istanbul Convention is one of the biggest gains of women’s struggle, allowing them to live equally and independently,” the platform statement said.

The Convention on Preventing and Combating Violence Against Women and Domestic Violence, widely known as the Istanbul Convention, was signed by 45 countries and the European Union in 2011 and requires governments to adopt legislation prosecuting perpetrators of domestic violence and similar abuse as well as marital rape and female genital mutilation.

Turkey was the first member state to ratify the CoE convention, which was opened for signature in Istanbul during Turkey’s chairmanship of the organization 10 years ago.

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