Turkish President Erdogan has defended his country’s withdrawal from a women’s rights treaty. He said in Ankara that the decision is wrongly portrayed as a step backwards in efforts to combat violence against women.
Earlier this year, Erdogan’s government announced its withdrawal from the Istanbul Convention. That was signed in 2011 in Turkey’s largest city. The withdrawal will be official on Thursday. Then in the evening, large protests are expected in Turkey, also in Istanbul.
The dozens of participating countries pledged to tackle domestic violence and promote gender equality. However, Erdogan prefers to settle such issues with local law. “Our struggle did not start with the Istanbul Convention and will not end with our withdrawal,” he said during a speech.
Still, the decision sparked international and domestic criticism. Top woman Agnès Callamard of the human rights organization Amnesty International said a “dangerous signal” is being sent to people who are guilty of serious acts of violence: “that they can continue with impunity.”