Turkish police fired tear gas to disperse protests by women in Istanbul who marched to demand that Turkey restore a landmark treaty aimed at protecting women from violence
ISTANBUL-On Thursday, Turkish police fired tear gas to disperse women’s protests in Istanbul. They demanded that the country resume a landmark international treaty signed in the same city to protect women from violence.
Women marched along Istanbul’s main pedestrian street, Istiklal, to commemorate the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women on November 25. They held colorful banners, chanted slogans, and vowed not to abandon the Istanbul Convention of the Council of Europe.
Riot police set up barricades at the end of the street to stop them from moving forward. When a group of protesters tried to break through the barricades, they fired tear gas. According to Cumhuriyet, at least one protester was injured.
Similar protests were held in Ankara and other cities.
The Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan suddenly issued an overnight decree in March to withdraw Turkey from the convention, which triggered condemnation from women’s rights organizations and Western countries. The court appeal to block the move was rejected, and Turkey’s withdrawal was formally confirmed in July.
Some officials of Erdogan’s Islamic Party have called for a review of the agreement, arguing that it is inconsistent with Turkey’s conservative values.
The government announced its “Action Plan to Combat Violence against Women”, which includes goals such as reviewing judicial procedures, improving protection services, and collecting violence data.
Human rights organizations say that violence against women is on the rise in Turkey.
Advocacy organization We Will Stop Femicide stated that as of 2021, 353 women have been murdered in Turkey, and 409 women were killed last year. According to the organization, in October, 18 women were killed by men and another 19 were found dead under suspicious circumstances.