Turkish police raid Left Party for banner protesting withdrawal from Istanbul Convention

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Turkish police raided the Left Party’s (SOL Parti) Artvin branch on Friday due to a banner protesting Turkey’s withdrawal from the Istanbul Convention, the Council of Europe’s (CoE) binding treaty to prevent and combat violence against women.

According to a report by the Stockholm Center for Freedom citing Turkish media, police officers searched the branch office and confiscated the banner based on a warrant. In a tweet Sercan Dede, head of the Left Party’s Artvin branch, said the police beat and detained him and four of his colleagues.

The banner read, “The Istanbul Convention belongs to us. Decrees of the one man [regime] are null and void.”

In a statement the Left Party said they would continue to speak out against the Erdoğan government, which “wants to destroy women’s rights and secularism.” All of the party’s branches around the country displayed banners protesting Turkey’s withdrawal from the Istanbul Convention.

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.

In a move that attracted widespread criticism from several countries, international organizations and rights groups, Turkey withdrew from the Istanbul Convention, through a presidential decree issued by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on March 20.

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