Published: 22nd March 2021
What the FAQ: What is the Istanbul Convention that Turkey withdrew from on March 20?
We try to understand why Turkey, after whose cultural capital the convention is named, decided to withdraw suddenly from the convention that aims to end violence against women
On March 21, Joe Biden, the US President expressed his disappointment over Turkey's withdrawal from the Istanbul Convention that was formed in 2011 to oppose violence against women in different countries. Biden said, "This is a disheartening step backwards for the international movement to end violence against women." But it's not that women in Turkey are not victims of rape, honour killings and domestic violence.
Therefore, we try to understand why Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan decided to withdraw from the convention that is named after its cultural capital, Istanbul. And here's what you need to know about the convention.
What is the Istanbul Convention?
Istanbul Convention, also known as The Council of Europe Convention on Preventing and Combating Violence Against Women and Domestic Violence, is a human rights treaty by the Council of Europe against violence on women. The treaty was opened for signatures on May 11, 2011, in Istanbul.
How many countries have signed the Istanbul Convention?
As of March 2019, the treaty has been signed by 45 countries and the European Union. On March 12, 2012, Turkey became the first country to ratify the treaty, followed by 33 other countries from 2013 to 2019.
Why did Turkey withdraw from the Istanbul Convention?
Though Turkey was the first country to sign the treaty in 2012, Erdoğan decided to withdraw from it on March 20. After the withdrawal, his office did not share any exact reasons for it. However, it has been reported several times that many in Turkey condemned the convention saying it undermines their family structure and traditions. They also see it as a way of western countries promoting homosexuality through its principles of non-discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. They also believed that western countries were trying to promote divorce culture in Turkey.
Which other countries criticised the Istanbul Convention?
Several people and various political parties in Poland, Bulgaria, Slovakia and Hungary have criticised the Istanbul Convention as they consider its clauses related to LBGT rights as 'Extreme Liberalism' and fear that it might shake their foundation and their society's value system.