Turkish Presidential Communications Directorate has released a written statement on President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's sudden decision to withdraw Turkey from the Istanbul Convention, saying that the treaty "was hijacked by a group of people attempting to normalize homosexuality."
"The Istanbul Convention, originally intended to promote women’s rights, was hijacked by a group of people attempting to normalize homosexuality – which is incompatible with Türkiye’s social and family values. Hence the decision to withdraw," read the directorate statement.
Scores of women are either killed, beaten or sexually assaulted in Turkey each year. The government is being criticized for not taking sufficient steps to protect women.
The ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) has also been increasingly getting homophobic, with Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu going as far as to call LGBT individuals "perverted."
The directorate also claimed that Turkey's withdrawal from the pact "has zero impact" on the country's struggle against violence against women.
"It must be noted that Turkey's withdrawal from the Istanbul Convention has zero impact on the implementation of strict, effective and real-world measures, including a landmark legislation that President Erdoğan’s government drafted, sponsored and passed," the statement read.
"Turkey will take additional steps to improve the effectiveness of existing precautions against domestic violence and violence against women as part of the Human Rights Action Plan that was unveiled in early March," it noted.
Erdoğan's decision to quit the Istanbul Convention with a midnight decree prompted outrage in Turkey, with women pouring to the streets to protest. His move was also condemned internationally, as U.S. President Joe Biden called it "deeply disappointing."