Rights groups, bar associations rally for reversal of Istanbul Convention exit

Members of Turkey’s women’s and human rights groups and bar associations on Tuesday called for the reversal of the country’s withdrawal from the Istanbul Convention, the Council of Europe’s treaty on preventing violence against women and domestic violence.

The government of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in March of last year pulled the country out of the convention, following mounting pressure from conservative groups, who maintain the treaty threatens traditional family values and promotes homosexuality.  The move sparked nation-wide protests and international condemnation.

The groups gathered in front of Ankara's Council of State, which on Tuesday held a hearing on legal applications to scrap the withdrawal, Evrensel newspaper reported. Over 200 cases have been filed seeking the cancellation of Turkey’s withdrawal from the convention.

"This withdrawal decision, which is equivalent to intervening in women’s right to life, leads to the abuse of children and killing of women,’’ Evrensel cited lawyer and Ankara Bar Association member Candan Dumrul as saying in a statement to the press.

‘’Turkey's withdrawal from the Convention is contrary to basic human rights and democracy. We are telling the Council of State this today," Yelda Koçak, a lawyer and member of the Women's Platform for Equality group, said.

Demonstrators carrying purple banners, which represents the feminist movement in Turkey, chanted "The Istanbul Convention gives life to women!" and "We don't give up because we are right!"

A total of 166 women have been killed in Turkey so far this year, the majority by family members, according to The We Will Stop Femicide Platform.

At least 339 women were killed by men in Turkey last year, according to news website Bianet’s Male Violence Monitoring Report.

The data marks the highest number of female deaths by men in Bianet’s annual monitoring reports since 2010.

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