Deputies of Turkish opposition parties quit a commission on preventing domestic violence that the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) established before President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's withdrawal of Turkey from the Istanbul Convention.
President Erdoğan's withdrawal of Turkey from the international treaty protecting women against domestic violence was met with outrage not just domestically, but also internationally, and was interpreted as a symptom of the AKP administration's indifference against the plague of femicides in the country.
The AKP government formed the Parliamentary Commission to Research Causes of Violence Against Women shortly before the president's withdrawal from Istanbul Convention, possibly in an attempt to alleviate the backlash, and promised to create an Ankara Convention to replace the legislation.
Main opposition Republican People's Party (AKP) deputies Gamze Taşcıer, Aysu Bankoğlu, Suzan Şahin and Neslihan Hancıoğlu left the commission on June 22 on the grounds that the ruling People's Alliance was insincere in their attempts to protect women.
"We see that the People's Alliance is trying to make us pawns in their attempts to enforce their agenda to have the commission justify withdrawing from Istanbul Convention," Taşcıer said.
The CHP deputies were forced to defend basic human rights in the committee, Taşcıer said, noting that the commission included members who defended underage marriages.
The CHP deputies' departure from the commission was followed by Good (İYİ) Party deputy Şenol Sunat on June 23, who said that the president's decision to withdraw from the Istanbul Convention was illegal.
"I've had hesitations to join the commission since the beginning in light of this unfortunate and wrong decision," Sunat said in a statement presented to the commission.
The commission's goal is "clearly" to undermine progress made in women's rights to please conservative fractions of society, Sunat said.
"Membership to this commission has no place in the female conscience," the deputy added.
The opposition deputies' departure from the commission brought the number of members to 10: Seven from the AKP, two from the pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP), and one from the AKP's far-right ally Nationalist Movement Party (MHP).