Said last year the government was considering withdrawing from the queue on how to prevent violence against women.
President Tayyip Erdogan has excluded Turkey from an international agreement designed to protect women, the national gazette said on Saturday, despite calls from prosecutors who saw the agreement as a key to combating escalating domestic violence.
The Council of Europe, formed in Istanbul, pledged to prevent, prosecute and eliminate domestic violence and to promote equality. Turkey, which signed the agreement in 2011, has significantly increased the number of murders of women last year.
No reason was given for the withdrawal, but officials from Erdogan’s ruling AK Party said last year the government was considering withdrawing from the queue on how to prevent violence against women.
“The guarantee of women’s rights is the current law in our laws, especially our Constitution. Our justice system is strong and powerful enough to implement the new regulations if necessary, ”Minister of Family, Labor and Public Policy Zehra Zumrut tweeted, without giving a reason for this.
Many traditionalists in Turkey say the agreement undermines family structures, inciting violence. They are also hostile to the principle of gender equality in the Istanbul Accord and see it as promoting homosexuality, given its goal of non-discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.
Critics of the withdrawal deal say it will put Turkey at the forefront of compliance with European Union standards, which it remains a member state to engage with. They argue that this agreement, and the law enacted after it, needs to be enforced.
Turkey is not the first country to break the treaty. Poland’s highest court reviewed the agreement after a cabinet member ruled that Warsaw should withdraw from the treaty, which the national government considered to be “extremely free”.
Erdogan has condemned the violence against women, including saying this month that his government will work to end violence against women. But critics say his government has not done enough to prevent the killing of women and domestic violence.
Turkey does not keep official statistics on murders of women. World Health Organization data shows that 38% of women in Turkey are less likely to experience violence from their health partners, compared to 25% in Europe.
Ankara has taken steps such as branding people known for using violence and building a women’s smartphone app to inform police, downloaded hundreds of thousands of times.
Erdogan’s decision comes after he introduced reforms in the judiciary this month which he said would promote rights and freedoms, and help meet EU standards. Turkey has been ready to join the bloc since 2005, but talks to reach out have been halted over Ankara’s policy differences and human rights record.