Civil society: Istanbul Convention must be implemented

26 civil society organisations, including the Peoples’ Democratic Congress (HDK), support the Istanbul Convention for Protection against Violence against Women and demand its implementation.

The AKP/MHP regime in Turkey is trying to reverse the ratification of the Istanbul Convention on combatting violence against women. With the argument of "protection of the family" the important achievement of the global women's movement is wanted eliminated. But there has been widespread resistance to this for months. Now 26 civil society organisations have spoken out and called on the government to put an end once and for all to the discussions about withdrawing from the convention and to apply the legal norms. In a joint declaration entitled "The Istanbul Convention is a guarantee of survival", they say: "If the Istanbul Convention had been implemented, 163 women would not have been murdered by the men closest to them since January 2020, and 36 in July alone. The police violence against women demanding their rights guaranteed by the constitution shows that the state is an accomplice to femicide. Not an end to the Istanbul Convention, but its implementation must be guaranteed."

The signatories range from initiatives by coup victims to progressive religious and ideological associations, the democracy movement, the Peoples’ Democratic Congress (HDK), trade unions and the PEN Club. The names of the individual initiatives are "2017 Bodrum Yurttaş İnisiyatifi, 78'liler Girişimi, Alevi Düşünce Ocağı Derneği, Ankara 78'liler Girişimi, Ankara Düşünceye Özgürlük Girişimi, Daktilo 1984, Demokrasi İçin Birlik (DİB), Demokratik Alevi Dernekleri, Din Alimleri Derneği (DİAYDER), Diyalog Grubu, Doğu-Güneydoğu Dernekleri (DGD) Platformu Kadın Meclisi, Doğu-Güneydoğu Dernekleri (DGD) Platformu, Düşünce Suçuna Karşı Girişim, Eşit Haklar İçin İzleme Derneği, Güvence Hareketi, Hak ve Adalet Platformu, Halkların Demokratik Kongresi (HDK), Oyuncular Sendikası, Özgürlük Araştırmaları Derneği, PEN Yazarlar Derneği, Pir Sultan Abdal Kültür Derneği, SODEV (Sosyal Demokrasi Vakfı), Türkiye Yazarlar Sendikası (TYS), Üniversite Öğretim Üyeleri Derneği (ÜNİVDER), Yurttaş Girişimi, Yurttaşlık Derneği. ”

Background: The Istanbul Convention

The Istanbul Convention - the Convention for the Prevention and Combating of Violence against Women and Domestic Violence - was drawn up by the Council of Europe as an international treaty in 2011 and entered into force in 2014. It is considered a milestone in the fight against patriarchal violence and obliges the signatory states to combat gender-based violence and to improve prevention and support services. Turkey was the first country to sign the convention and ratified the treaty in 2012 in parliament, but the legal norms are not applied in practice. Neither the planned offers of help and protection for women are being implemented, nor is, for example, Law No. 6284, which the AKP government claims is intended to act as a "protective cloak for women", being effectively applied. This is despite the fact that in the country on the Bosporus, misogyny and violence against women are not uncommon, but are the patriarchal foundation of society. According to the platform "We Will Stop Femicide" (Turkish: "Kadın Cinayetlerini Durduracağız Platformu") 474 cases of femicide were registered last year alone, yet the government of Erdoğan is discussing whether to withdraw from the Istanbul Convention - because it "undermines" traditional values and makes men "scapegoats".