Erdogan withdraws from European accord on violence against women

Ankara: Turkey President Tayyip Erdogan has withdrawn from an international pact that is designed to protect women, an official gazette communicated on Saturday. Erdogan exited from the pact despite the uproar from campaigners who see the pact as an important step to combat domestic violence.  

The Council of Europe accord pledged to prevent, prosecute and eliminate domestic violence and promote equality, was drafted in Istanbul. Turkey, despite being a signatory since 2011, saw a rise in femicides last year.

Reuters reported that no official reason was provided for withdrawing from the accord, but officials from the ruling party stated last year that the government was considering walking out amidst a row on how to go about curbing growing violence against women.

“The guarantee of women’s rights is in the current regulations in our bylaws, primarily our Constitution. Our judicial system is dynamic and strong enough to implement new regulations as needed,” Family, Labor and Social Policies Minister Zehra Zumrut said on Twitter, without providing a reason for the move.

While conservative ideologues in Turkey believe that the pact is harmful to the traditional family structures and encourages violence, critics of the withdrawal say that this move would be a step backwards for Turkey from achieving gender equality.

Turkey is, however, not the first country to ditch the accord. The Supreme Court of Poland also scrutinized the accord after a cabinet minister said that Warsaw must think of quitting, as it seemed too liberal for the nationalist government.

With inputs from Reuters