Top administrative court rejects all appeals against Erdoğan's exit from Istanbul Convention

Turkey's Council of State has rejected all the appeals demanding the reversal of a presidential decree that pulled the country out of the Istanbul Convention. The court argued that the authority to ratify and annul international agreements belongs to the President.

A protestor holds a banner reading 'Istanbul Convention keeps alive' during a demonstration in this file photo.

Duvar English

Turkey's top administrative court Council of State has rejected all the appeals demanding the annulment of a presidential decree that pulled the country out of the Council of Europe’s Convention on Preventing and Combating Violence against Women and Domestic Violence, also known as the Istanbul Convention.

The Council of State said in its decision that the treaty's 80th article gave the executive organ, meaning the Presidency, the authorization to annul itself, Habertürk reported on Nov. 18. Citing the Constitution's 104th article, the top court said that the authorization to ratify international agreements belongs to the President.

“The President can delay an agreement's ratification per changing and new circumstances, and may give up on its ratification altogether,” the court said.

After President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on March 20 issued a decree withdrawing Turkey from the Istanbul Convention, a total of 220 appeals were lodged at the Council of State, demanding that the relevant presidential decree be suspended and annulled. Among those who filed the appeals were opposition parties including the Republican People's Party (CHP) and İYİ (Good) Party as well as rights groups.

In their petition, the plaintiffs said that the convention was approved by the consent of all parties in parliament in 2011 and that the Constitution alone does not give the President the power to annul it.

In June, the Council of State's 10th Chamber rejected the appeals, but the complainants have this time taken the case to the top court's highest decision-making body “The Board of the Chambers of Administrative Cases.”

The board has similarly rejected all the appeals, which means the decision is final and can no longer be appealed.

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.