Women for Istanbul Convention gather in front of Council of State despite police blockade

Women seeking to attend the Istanbul Convention hearing gathered outside the Council of State despite police blockade and protested the misogyny of the AKP-MHP government.

Members of political parties, women's organizations and several bar associations made a statement in front of the Council of State before the 4th hearing of the lawsuit launched to annul the withdrawal from the Istanbul Convention. The Peoples' Democratic Party’s (HDP) Women's Assembly spokesperson Ayşe Acar Başaran, members of the Republican People's Party (CHP) and Halkevi, Head of the Turkish Medical Association (TTB) Şebnem Korur Fincancı, the Women's Platform for Equality (EŞİK) members, women members of the Confederation of Public Labourer’s Union (KESK), the Union of Chambers of Turkish Engineers and Architects (TMMOB), women's organizations, trade unions and bar associations attended the press briefing.


The women made a press statement outside the Council of State after being obstructed by the police from entering its yard. During the press statement, an activist was detained for allegedly "insulting the police". Women reacted to the police intervention.


Tülin Eraslan spoke on behalf of the Women's Platform for Equality (EŞİK). “We are here as people who want to continue to live. The President's decision is a blow to women's lives, equality, democracy, justice and the fight against male violence. We saw the negative pressure of the unlawful decision on the judiciary in Pınar Gültekin's case. Once again, a perpetrator was given a 'male' abatement. We are here to announce that all women will fight to reverse the reduced sentence given to Cemal Metin Avcı and the acquittal of his family members who spoiled evidence and aided and abetted him in a higher court,” Eraslan said.

Nurhan Demirtan, who spoke on behalf of the Women's International Constitutional Law Research Association, touched upon the unlawfulness of the withdrawal decision.

İnci İnsesöğüt made a speech on behalf of the Çanakkale Women's Initiative, saying that, “We have never renounced the struggle and we have collected thousands of signatures. This is women’s will to live.”


Head of the Turkish Medical Association (TTB) Şebnem Korur Fincancı also delivered a speech and said, “As doctors, we are involved in every stage of the prevention, protection and support mechanisms of this convention. Therefore, it is our duty to fight the most important threats to public health and sexism. The Violence Prevention and Monitoring Centres (ŞÖNİM) cannot protect women. We saw in Pınar Gültekin's case that they did not protect us. We will fight together for the full implementation of the convention.”


“We have come to defend our rights, our lives, again. They are trying to whittle away at such a universal right. We condemn this. Do not think that you can trivialize the advocacy of the Istanbul Convention, and that you can drive us into a corner here,” said Gülsüm Kav, Head of the We Will Stop Femicide Platform (KCDP), reacting to the police intervention.


HDP Women's Assembly Spokesperson Ayşe Acar Başaran also said that they do not recognize the decision to withdraw from the convention. Başaran cited the reduced sentence given to Avcı who killed Pınar Gültekin, and stated, “We are talking about why the Istanbul Convention is so vital. Every day, at least one woman is murdered in this country, and the government, the state and the law enforcement prevent women everywhere instead of preventing the murderers. But here we announce once again, as the HDP, we will continue to resist in all areas of life and to promote the Istanbul Convention. Success and victory will be achieved through the struggle of women.”


“The Istanbul Convention, which was introduced to protect women, was terminated by one man on March 21, 2021. After that, many institutions applied to the Council of State for the annulment of this unlawful decision. However, the Council of State did not halt this unlawfulness. Since then, 500 of our sisters have been murdered. Today, we expect the Council of State to put an end to this unlawfulness,” CHP Women's Branch Chair Aylin Nazlıaka said.

After the statements, the women activists went to the courtroom at the Council of State.