Senior European officials voiced regret over Turkey’s decision to withdraw from a European treaty aiming to prevent and combat violence against women.
The EU’s foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said in a statement that the Istanbul Convention was the first international legally binding instrument to combat violence against women and domestic violence.
“We cannot but regret deeply and express incomprehension towards the decision of the Turkish government to withdraw from this convention that even bears the name of Istanbul,” Borrell said, referring to the Turkish metropolitan city.
He called on Turkey to reverse the decision.
Meanwhile, Heiko Maas, Germany’s foreign minister and chair of the Council of Europe’s Committee of Ministers, as well as President of the Council of Europe’s Parliamentary Assembly Rik Daems, issued a joint statement on Turkey’s announced withdrawal.
Maas and Daems said they “deeply regret the decision” to quit the Istanbul Convention that was ratified in Turkey’s parliament in 2012.
“We recall that the purpose of the Convention is to prevent violence against women, protect victims and prosecute perpetrators. It upholds women’s fundamental human right to a life free from violence,” the statement read.
Turkey was the first country to ratify the European convention adopted in Istanbul in 2011.
The convention seeks to prevent violence against women, including domestic violence, and bring an end to legal impunity for perpetrators.
While the convention was enforced in 34 countries, including Turkey, some countries — Ukraine, the UK, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Moldova, Lithuania, Liechtenstein, Latvia, Hungary, Armenia, and Bulgaria — signed the document but have yet to ratify.
The EU signed the convention on June 13, 2017, while Council of Europe members Russia and Azerbaijan did not.
Some items of the convention caused discussion on the subject of gender equality in Turkey, with critics saying they damage traditional family values.
*Writing by Sena Guler in Ankara
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