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  • Writer's pictureNehir

Turkey's withdrawal from the Istanbul Convention and what it means for women's rights

The president of Turkey recently announced that Turkey has withdrawn from the Istanbul Convention. People in Turkey didn’t notice that this was happening at all until the time they woke up one morning and read this news on the National Newspaper. The news affects women in Turkey a lot that they have decided to protest peacefully for this convention to be accepted in the country again. What does this convention include that makes itself so valuable? Keep reading because it carries a great importance for women’s rights in Turkey.

The convention includes these statements:

  • The state has a responsibility to prevent all forms of violence against women, protect those who experience it and prosecute perpetrators.

  • The state must promote equality between women and men and prevent violence against women by encouraging mutual respect or non-violent conflict resolution and questioning gender stereotypes – including through teaching materials in schools.

  • The state must investigate allegations of violence and prosecute perpetrators.

  • The state must protect and support those who experience violence, for example by removing perpetrators from the house to make sure the person affected stays safe and by offering sufficient and accessible shelters.

  • The state must ensure that victims can claim compensation from the offender and must award adequate compensation itself if it cannot be covered from other sources.

  • The state must ensure a coordinated approach among all relevant agencies, civil society organisations and other stakeholders to support those who experience violence and protect them from further violence.

  • Those who experience violence should have information and access to support services, such as 24/7 telephone helplines, rape crisis centres, counselling and shelters

  • Civil society plays an important role in providing essential services to those who experience violence, raising awareness and helping to change attitudes to create a culture of zero tolerance.

  • Police and justice system professionals should be trained on victims’ rights and how to prevent further harm, so that they are able to respond to calls for assistance and manage dangerous situations.

The Istanbul Convention is a convention that includes statements that protects women’s rights, helps the women who have been assaulted and harassed, and prevents the violence against women as can be seen from the statements above. In 2012, Turkey ratified that they have accepted the Convention and in 2014, it came into force. From February 2021, the convention was signed by all of the European Union members and was ratified by 21 countries. The president withdrew from the convention on the 20th of March, 2021, because of some political reasons. Towards the early morning hours of March 20, 2021, this writing was published on the Official National Newspaper:

‘It is decided that the Council of Europe Treaty on Preventing and Combating Violence against Women and Domestic Violence signed on 11/5/2011 and ratified on 10/2/2012 with the Council of Ministers Decision No 2012/2816 is to be terminated based on Presidential Decree No 9 paragraph 3.’

After hearing this news as the first news of their mornings, women in Turkey decided to protest to get this convention back to Turkey in order to have their rights in a safe place. Many protests have been done.

After this withdrawal, femicides, which have been rising, have risen even more. In February 2021, there were 28 femicides and 12 women were found dead under suspicious reasons. In March 2021, this number increased even more and on March 6th, a 92-year-old woman was raped and then murdered. After the withdrawal, 6 women got killed within 24 hours. These numbers and femicides are still on rise, and without the Istanbul Convention, it will continue to rise even more now that women’s rights are much less protected.

As a Turkish woman living in Turkey, I am scared to get out of my home and walk alone on the streets. I don’t feel safe in my own country because I saw a lot of femicides happen to many women from many different parts of Turkey. If you want to help me, my family and women in Turkey, and help them take back their rights, you can sign the petition that is linked down below. To get informed even more, click on the links that are included in the “Suggestions” part. This topic is really important for Turkey and women’s rights generally so your sharing and signing the petitions would be appreciated.


-Sign this petition to help us get the convention that protects women's rights back:


Read this blog:

Read this site to learn more about the femicides in Turkey:

Watch this YouTube video to see the opinions of a Turkish woman named Hailey Eylül Sani who is living in America:


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