Turkish family minister cites alcohol use, addiction among reasons for violence against women

Turkish Family, Labor and Social Services Minister Zehra Zümrüt Selçuk has cited alcohol use and addiction as some of the reasons for violence against women in the country. She said that the country was failing to talk about "the root causes of violence" because the news agenda was stuck on "a text," presumably Istanbul Convention that the government has recently withdrawn from.

Duvar English

Turkey's Family, Labor and Social Services Minister Zehra Zümrüt Selçuk said on March 24 that the country was unable to focus on the causes of violence against women because it was too concerned about "a text," namely the Istanbul Convention that the president withdrew from.

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan prompted nationwide protests after issuing a decree on March 20 that withdrew the country from Istanbul Convention, an international treaty that mandates all signatories create legislation to protect women's rights. 

"We can't talk about the root issues that cause violence because we're too concerned about a text...Violence has many reasons such as alcohol and addiction," the minister said

The minister also said that the media played a crucial role in the fight against violence targeting women, and that academics were responsible for discovering the root causes of violence. 

The minister further claimed that domestic laws in Turkey were "fully equipped" to fight violence against women, and that the government was not willing to "compromise, backtrack or deviate" from the fight with violence against women.

The president's recent move to withdraw the country from Istanbul Convention was a symptom of the ruling Justice and Development Party's (AKP) reluctance to prosecute violence crimes against women, as courts often fail to effectively sentence assailants, let alone take precautionary measures.