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CHP petitions top court seeking annulment of women’s treaty withdrawal

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The main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) has filed a petition at Turkey’s highest administrative court seeking to overturn the country’s withdrawal from an international convention aimed at combatting domestic violence.

With a stroke of the pen that sparked international outrage, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan last month pulled Turkey out of the 2011 Istanbul Convention, a landmark pact it once took pride in having helped craft.

Erdoğan’s decision came as the number of femicides and other crimes against women is growing in Turkey.

CHP deputy group chairman Özgür Özel and CHP deputy chairperson Gülizar Biçer Karaca filed the party’s application at the Council of State on Thursday.

“If you had asked what is the only good thing the AKP [ruling Justice and Development Party] has done over the past 19 years in power, we would say it was the adoption of the Istanbul Convention. Now they’ve moved away from the only good thing they’ve done,” said Özel, speaking to reporters in front of the court.

The Council of Europe Convention on Preventing and Combating Violence against Women and Domestic Violence, 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.

Karaca said withdrawing from the Istanbul Convention by means of a midnight decree is not legally valid, adding that the convention is particularly important regarding the forced marriages of girls below 18 years of age.

Condemned abroad, Erdoğan’s decree also sparked protests at home by women who feel increasingly threatened in the still largely patriarchal country of 83 million.

More than 300 women were murdered in Turkey last year, according to the rights group We Will Stop Femicide Platform.

The World Health Organization found that 38 percent of women in Turkey reported having been subjected to domestic abuse by their husband or partner.

The reported rate across Europe stands at 25 percent.

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