Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) MP Gülistan Kılıç Koçyiğit has filed a parliamentary question about the Turkish authorities' recent decision to deport four Iranian refugees on the grounds that they had participated in a protest against Ankara's withdrawal from the Istanbul Convention, an international accord designed to protect women.
In her parliamentary question addressing Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu, the HDP deputy inquired about the “legal basis” behind this deportation reason issued for three female and one male refugees, daily Evrensel reported on April 7.
The four refugees are currently held at the repatriation center in the western province of Aydın, the deputy noted.
The HPD deputy said that the Turkish Constitution's 34th article grants everyone the right to hold unarmed and peaceful meetings and demonstration marches without prior permission, and asked why this provision has not been implemented for the four refugees in question.
Turkish police on April 5 detained Esmaeil Fattahi, Leili Faraji, Zeinab Sahafi and Mohammad Pourakbari Kermani on accusations of “damaging the public order” following their participation in a March 20 pro-Istanbul Convention demonstration.
After spending the night at the police station in the western province of Denizli, the refugees were sent to the repatriation center.
Human Rights Association (İHD)'s İzmir Branch Women Commission on April 7 slammed the Turkish authorities for wanting to deport the refugees.
“Istanbul Convention keeps alive. We will not give up on rights. This treaty does not only provide legal protection for the contracting state citizens, but also refugee women,” said İHD in a written statement.
The rights organization similarly recalled the Turkish Constitution's 34th article on the right to hold demonstrations, saying: “The refugees who used their rights to freedom of speech and to assembly and demonstration, need to be released immediately and arbitrary implementations need to be renounced.”
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan pulled Turkey out of the Istanbul Convention in a midnight decree on March 20, despite calls from campaigners who see the pact as key to combating rising domestic violence.
Following Erdoğan's move, protestors took the streets with a demand that the government reverses its decision to withdraw from the international treaty.
There has been also a flood of reaction from Western countries and international organizations – which called on Ankara to reconsider its decision.