Eight bar associations have released a joint statement slamming President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan after he earlier this week targeted the Istanbul Convention and citizens defending the treaty.
The bar associations said that Erdoğan was trying to criminalize those in support of the treaty -- officially known as the Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence -- and recalled that the president was in power when the treaty was ratified by Turkey in 2012.
“The Istanbul Convention is a policy document, a road map, a lifesaver. We will continue women's legal struggle to keep the Istanbul Convention alive; we do not recognize President Erdoğan's remarks and once again say everywhere, 'The Istanbul Convention keeps alive,'” the bar associations said, Mezopotamya Agency reported on Nov. 9.
The bar associations said that amid ongoing lawsuits against the government's move to pull out of the treaty, Erdoğan's statements were “overshadowing the courts' independence.”
“We call on him to end such statements which are intended to exercise control over the judiciary and women who have been demanding legal help within the framework of Istanbul Convention,” the bar associations said.
Following a Cabinet meeting on Nov. 8, Erdoğan held a press meeting during which he once again defended his move to pull the country out of the Istanbul Convention.
“Whoever makes a sentence in this country that starts with the Istanbul Convention, it should be our women first and foremost who should show a reaction to these people, as they have been abusing women for their own deviant ideological agendas,” Erdoğan said, in reference to İYİ (Good) Party MP Lütfü Türkkan.
Erdoğan's withdrawal of Turkey from the Istanbul Convention in March prompted outrage among the feminist movement, with women continuing to hold protests across the country in support of the treaty since then.