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Thousands Protest as Turkey Considers Withdrawal from Int’l Women’s Protection Accord

Thousands of protesters rallied across Turkey on Wednesday following reports that President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s AK party is contemplating a withdrawal from the 2011 European Council Convention on preventing and combating violence against women. According to party officials, the decision to remain in or leave the treaty, ironically signed in Istanbul and ratified by Turkey before any other nation, will be made next week. Turkey has witnessed a sharp uptick in the number of “femicides” and a rise in murders of female spouses and family members in recent years. While women’s rights groups and activists take to the streets to demand action and call for Turkey to remain in the accord, religious groups and conservative politicians claim that exiting the 2011 pact will help prevent violence against women, as in their eyes, empowering women’s right undermines family structures and traditional values that underpin social unity.