Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Saturday followed through on his promise from last year to withdraw Turkey from the 2011 Council of Europe Accord, also known as the Istanbul Convention, meant to protect women against domestic violence and discrimination. According to conservative Islamist lawmakers – some, inside Erdoğan’s own AK Party – the treaty undermines family structures and traditional Turkish values while covertly promoting homosexuality. Pulling out of the pact will assist Ankara in “preserving our traditional social fabric,” Vice President Fuat Oktay said Saturday. The announcement drew thousands of protesters to the streets in Turkey and prompted senior European diplomats to condemn the decision. According to the World Health Organization, close to 40% of women in Turkey suffer from violence from their partners, as opposed to 25% in the rest of Europe. Ankara’s move could further distance it from joining the European Union, which has conditioned Turkey’s membership on tangible advancement on policy and human rights issues.
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