Turkey’s parliament speaker Mustafa Şentop has said that there is no need to withdraw from the Istanbul Convention as the government is deliberating on the issue.
“Turkey has taken many steps regarding the violence against women, and I believe that the Istanbul Convention has contributed to that. I am not of the opinion that there is any situation that makes it compulsory to withdraw from the convention,” Şentop, from the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), told reporters on Aug. 6.
Rights defenders say that the convention is important for women’s protection in a male dominated society, but some of the officials from the AKP have claimed that the treaty undermines family values. The AKP will decide in the next week whether to initiate legal steps to pull out of the accord, a senior party official earlier this week told Reuters.
Şentop said that none of the international agreements can be drafted with “just one state’s perspective.”
“There exist regulations, implementations which are contrary to our perspectives. If we are to look for an agreement that is completely in line with our own culture, we cannot find such. A consensus should be reached within the framework of issues that will honor everyone as per the agreement’s universal dimensions,” Şentop said.
Despite signing the Council of Europe accord in 2011, pledging to prevent, prosecute and eliminate domestic violence and promote equality, Turkey saw 474 femicides last year, double the number seen in 2011, according to a group which monitors murders of women.
Many conservatives in Turkey say the pact, ironically forged in Istanbul, encourages violence by undermining family structures. Their opponents argue that the deal, and legislation approved in its wake, need to be implemented more stringently.