President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Aug. 13 signaled the government’s intention to withdraw from the Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence, also known as the Istanbul Convention, saying that Turkey needs to draft such treaties on its own, rather than using “translated texts.”
“An understanding, a regulation or an ideology which places a dynamite on the foundation of the family is not legitimate,” Erdoğan said in a speech in the capital Ankara, in remarks clearly targeting the Istanbul Convention.
Although Turkey was the first country to ratify the Istanbul Convention in 2012, Erdoğan’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) government is now considering exiting it.
Many conservatives in Turkey say the pact, ironically forged in Istanbul, encourages violence by undermining family structures and are lobbying the AKP to pull out of the pact. Their opponents argue that the deal, and legislation approved in its wake, need to be implemented more stringently.
“I am of the opinion that we are highly capable to draft texts which honor human dignity, put the family at the center and which are appropriate for our social fabric. Instead of translated texts, we need to determine our frame on our own. Instead of saying Coopenhagen criteria, we would say Ankara criteria and proceed on our way,” Erdoğan said.
The “Copenhagen criteria” refer to a set of criteria established by the European Council in 1993 for countries seeking accession in the EU.
Erdoğan slams Islamist columnist Dilipak over article on Istanbul Convention
During his speech, Erdoğan also slammed pro-government Islamist columnist Abdurrahman Dilipak over his column titled “AKP’s daisies,” without explicitly mentioning Dilipak’s name. Dilipak, who writes for Yeni Akit newspaper, insulted AKP women who threw their support behind the Istanbul Convention and referred to supports of the convention as “prostitutes” in his column published in July.
Erdoğan said that the AKP will never stay silent in the face of such an “irreverence” targeting the party’s women. “On behalf of all my women branches and all women, I condemn such columnists who describe AKP’s women as ‘AKP’s daisies’ … and who use a swearing word which I refrain from saying,” Erdoğan said.
Earlier this week, the AKP’s women branch headquarters and local branches in Turkey’s 81 provinces filed lawsuits against Dilipak over his column. The AKP women said that they “will never stay silent against dirty- and narrow-minded journalists and social media influences, who are supposedly seeming to be a part of the same political movement with us.”