Turkey has withdrawn from a landmark European treaty protecting women from violence that it was the first to sign 10 years ago, provoking a wave of anger at a time when attacks have been on the rise.
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan issued a decree early on Saturday annulling Turkey’s ratification of the Istanbul Convention, named after the country’s largest city.
His move follows months of pressure from conservative and islamist groups, who had called for Turkey to withdraw from the treaty. However it is a blow to women’s rights advocates, who say the agreement is crucial to combating domestic violence.
Thousands turned out in Istanbul and across the country on Saturday after campaign groups called for protests against the move under the slogan “Withdraw the decision, apply the treaty”.
The Council of Europe’s Secretary General, Marija Pejčinović Burić, called the decision “devastating”. “This move is a huge setback to these efforts and all the more deplorable because it compromises the protection of women in Turkey, across Europe and beyond,” she said.
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