Saturday March 27th 2021
Women protest in Turkey
“We will not be silent!”
Hundreds of women in Turkey have again protested against President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s withdrawal from the international convention against violence against women. Among other things, hundreds of women marched through the streets in Istanbul, chanting again and again: “We are not afraid, we will not be silent, we will not give in!” There were also new protests in the capital, Ankara.
These were fueled by a new alleged femicide: A 17-year-old pregnant woman was stabbed to death in the province of Izmir, according to media reports, the suspect is the man with whom she lived.
The withdrawal from the Istanbul Convention against Violence against Women was announced last weekend by a presidential decree by Erdogan. With his decision, the president accommodated conservative and Islamist circles. They had called for the exit on the grounds that the agreement harmed family unity and promoted divorces and homosexuality.
In addition to violent protests within Turkey, the exit was also sharply criticized abroad, including the German government expressing its disconcertment and calling for the decision to be withdrawn. Erdogan defended the exit from the agreement against criticism. “This is not a decision that parliament makes. The opposition has no idea,” said Erdogan on Friday. The move is “completely legal”. “We have made our decision. We can join but just as easily leave.”
The Istanbul Convention of the Council of Europe is the world’s first binding agreement of its kind. The signatories, including Germany, undertake to better protect women and girls from violence by prosecuting the perpetrators – be it at home or elsewhere. According to the agreement, “violence” includes not only physical violence, but also gender-specific discrimination, intimidation or economic exploitation.