Erdoğan downplays violence against women, says Turkey has a lower femicide rate than Europe

Turkey has a lower femicide rate than most of the European countries, President Erdoğan has argued, while announcing new measures to protect women from violence.

Duvar English

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has announced a set of new measures to curb the violence against women in an event organized by the Women and Democracy Association (KADEM).

Erdoğan said the reduction in the punishment of the perpetrators will be much more limited and perpetrators will not benefit from reduction if they do not genuinely regret their actions. 

Accordingly, any behavior of the perpetrators that does not contain a concrete expression of regret will no longer be accepted as a reason for reduction. “Theatrical images exhibited only by wearing a suit and tie will not be grounds for reduction,” Erdoğan stated.

“If crimes such as willful killing, deliberate injury and torture are committed against women, the penalties will be increased even more. The bar associations can appoint lawyers to victims of violence upon their request,” Erdoğan said.

The president said that his ruling Justice and Development Party (AKKP) will bring the bill in question to the agenda of the parliament as soon as possible. 

“We increased the participation of women in the workforce from 27 percent to 34 percent. We brought the employment of women from six million to 10 million. The rate of women among the teaching staff in our universities has approached 51 percent,” Erdoğan said, in an attempt to boast about the AKP's moves during the party's 20-year-long reign. 

Erdoğan also argued that Turkey has a lower femicide rate than most European countries. "The murder of women in Turkey is less, in ratio, in comparison with most of the European countries, but we cannot consider ourselves having done our duty until we have reduced the number of these incidents to zero," he said.  

KADEM, whose deputy chair is Erdoğan's daughter Sümeyye Erdoğan Bayraktar, previously voiced support to the Istanbul Convention, which aims to combat violence against women and from which the Turkish government withdrew last year. 

Turkey was the first signatory state and the first state that submitted its ratification to the Istanbul Convention, subsequent to unanimous voting by parliament in 2011.

Ironically, Turkey has also become the first state to announce its withdrawal from the Istanbul Convention on its 10th anniversary.