Among the victims who fell victim to femicide between Jan. 1 and July 31, 52 were killed because they wanted to make their own decisions about their lives.
Canan Güllü, head of the Turkish Federation of Women’s Organizations (TKDF), spoke to Cumhuriyet about the alarming statistics of femicide in Turkey, saying that the debates on usurping women’s right to alimony and the lack of legal action against early forced marriage create the perception that there is no punishment for committing violence against women in the country.
“… In the period after withdrawing from the İstanbul Convention, women’s protection mechanisms have completely deteriorated. When women go to law enforcement, there is no functioning protection mechanism they can rely on,” Güllü said.
Emphasizing that the femicides stem from the government’s lack of proper policies protecting women, Güllü noted that it is the duty of the government to strengthen the concept of gender equality and to use the penal code against those who promote narratives that keep women within a submissive system.
Güllü emphasized the significance of preventing any potential repeal of Law No. 6284, which protects the family and combats violence against women and safeguarding the right to alimony.
In a move that attracted national and international outrage, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan through a presidential decree pulled the country out of an international treaty in March 2021 that requires governments to adopt legislation prosecuting perpetrators of domestic violence and similar abuse as well as marital rape and female genital mutilation.
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 opened to the signature of member countries of the Council of Europe in 2011.
Since Turkey’s withdrawal from the treaty, Turkish authorities have been pressuring women’s rights organizations over their activist work. The organizations have said they will continue monitoring violence and femicide in the country despite the pressure.