Majority of Turkey against withdrawal from Istanbul Convention against gender-based violence - poll

The majority of Turkish citizens are against the ruling Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) plans to withdraw from the Istanbul Convention, a council of Europe human rights treaty against domestic and gender-based violence, according to a new survey by Ankara-based pollster MetroPoll.

A total of 63.6 percent of those surveyed said they are opposed to the Turkish government’s plans to scrap the convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence, while only 17 percent supported the idea.

Ruling Islamist AKP officials are discussing withdrawal from the Istanbul Convention and annulling the Law No.6284, enacted following the signing of the convention in 2011. The legislation calls for increased support services for women and children, including rape crisis centres and women’s shelters, and allows for women subjected to domestic or sexual violence to take more effective action against their abusers while discouraging gendered bias in law enforcement and court systems.

The possible move in the country, which has long-battled femicide, has found support from Turkey’s conserative media, but met with protest by opposition lawmakers and women’s rights groups. 

Among AKP supporters, 49.7 percent said they were opposed to Turkey’s withdrawal from the convention, while 25.2 percent remained in favour of it, the Metropoll survey found.

Meanwhile on Saturday Temel Karamolloğlu, the leader of Turkey’s Islamist Felicity Party, a small but influential party from the same tradition as AKP, accused the convention of aiming to "annihilate gender.’’

“There is an anti-gender attitude in the Istanbul Convention. It is looking to do away with gender,” T24 news site quoted Karamollaoğlu as saying.  “How are you going to annihilate gender? Men are men and women are women.”

The opposition party leader pointed to countries such as England, Hungary and Russia, which have not signed the convention.

“If you see the removal of gender a necessity for social peace, then violence will emerge,” Karamollaoğlu said.
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