Istanbul Convention back on Erdoğan's agenda with emphasis on 'family unity'

The debate surrounding the Istanbul Convention stems from "wrong implementations," President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has said, as he reiterated the government's aim to "strengthen the family institution." "We'll take our steps in a way that won't harm the dynamics that keep our society together," he said.

Demonstrators wearing protective masks with a sign reading: "Implement Istanbul Convention!", take part in a protest against femicide and domestic violence, in Istanbul on Aug. 5.

Duvar English 

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has said that the debate surrounding the Istanbul Convention stems from "wrong implementations," as he reiterated his support for "the unity of a family." 

"I believe that the debates surrounding Istanbul Convention are based on the ongoing wrong implementations rather than the core of the issue. We won't allow drifting to wrong paths when we correct some mistakes," Erdoğan said in an event marking the 86th anniversary of Turkish women's gaining the right to vote and stand for election on Dec. 3. 

"We'll take our steps in a way that won't harm the dynamics that keep our society together. We'll make sure that our practices are carried out in a right, fair and sustainable path," he added. 

Istanbul Convention, an international treaty that's a pillar of legal protection against domestic violence and violence against women, was at the center of Turkey's agenda last summer when the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) signaled the country's withdrawal, partly due to pressure from Islamist circles. 

Officially the "Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence," the document mandates signatories to protect the rights of persons of "all genders," an expression that conservative circles in Turkey claim "encourage homosexuality."

The debate surrounding Turkey's withdrawal was slammed by rights groups since women in the country either get killed, sexually abused, or beaten every single day and the laws fall incredibly short in protecting them. Men get detained and arrested often after intense social media campaigns, but many crimes go unreported.

Impunity prevails in femicide and violence against women cases, with men getting away with their crimes. Their sentences get reduced due to "good conduct" and courts often question whether women "provoked" the attacks or gave consent to sexual crimes.

Violence against women has increased by 1,400 percent during the AKP rule. 

While Erdoğan said that the government will take all necessary measures to prevent violence against women, he noted that "women's position in the family will also be strengthened." 

"We accept all attacks against the family institution as a direct threat to our existence," he said.