Turkey has seen the murder of at least 259 women at the hands of men since the country’s official withdrawal in July 2021 from an international treaty known as Istanbul Convention, aimed at combatting domestic violence, according to a leading women’s rights group.
The Council of Europe Convention on Preventing and Combating Violence against Women and Domestic Violence is an international accord designed to protect women’s rights and prevent domestic violence in societies and was opened to the signature of member countries of the council in 2011.
Despite opposition from the international community and women’s rights groups, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan issued a decree in March 2021 that pulled the country out of the international treaty, which requires governments to adopt legislation prosecuting perpetrators of domestic violence and similar abuse as well as marital rape and female genital mutilation.
Turkey officially withdrew from the convention on July 1, 2021.
According to a statement from the We Will Stop Femicide Platform on Monday, 259 women have been killed by men since the withdrawal from the Istanbul Convention while 239 other women have died under suspicious circumstances.
The platform, which releases the statistics of domestic violence for every month, also revealed that 31 women were murdered by men in June while 22 others were found dead under suspicious circumstances.
The platform said in five of the murders, children were also killed along with their mothers.
Erdoğan 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.”
The rights group said “family values,” which are considered “sacred,” were unable to protect the women and children while the Istanbul Convention would have.
“According to the Istanbul Convention, if a child witnesses violence, they are considered victims of violence. Children not only witness violence in this country but are also killed with their mothers,” said the platform.
Among the 31 women who were murdered in June, 11 were killed for wanting a divorce or for refusing to marry or have a romantic relationship with a man. Two of the women were murdered for financial reasons, while the reasons behind the murder of 18 other women could not be established.
Femicides and violence against women are serious problems in Turkey, where women are killed, raped or beaten every day. Critics say the main reason behind the situation is the policies of the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government, which protects violent and abusive men by granting them impunity.