On July 1, Turkey formally withdrew from the European treaty on Preventing and Combating Violence Against Women and Domestic Violence. The move prompted protests across the country. Women’s rights and LGBT activists took to the streets, and police responded by setting up barricades and firing tear gas.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan declared his country’s intention to withdraw from the treaty this past March. Better known as the Istanbul Convention, after the city where it was negotiated, the treaty was adopted in April 2011, and signed and ratified by 46 EU and non-EU countries.
The same day Turkey formally withdrew from the treaty, Erdogan announced a four-year plan promising to improve government policies on women’s rights, raise public awareness and provide Turkish women with protection and support.
“Fighting violence against women has always been our priority. I support every step taken to that extent,” Erdogan said as he unveiled the plan.
The claim is misleading.
Women’s rights groups say that in a country infamous for violence against women, which has often been treated with impunity and even justified by conservatives, the convention was a binding contract for Turkey to establish a mechanism to protect women.