Istanbul: Thousands of people took to the street on Thursday to denounce Turkey’s withdrawal from an international treaty designated to combat violence against women.
Large scale demonstration was witnessed after Turkey formally pulled out from the Council of Europe Convention on Preventing and Combating Violence against Women and Domestic Violence, also known as Istanbul Convention, Al Jazeera reported.
Demonstrators clashed with police who fired tear gas in the country’s biggest city Istanbul.
Women protesters gathered on the Istiklal Avenue, carrying banners and chanting slogans against the government.
The police fired tear gas to disperse the protesters, preventing them from proceeding toward the iconic Taksim square.
In March, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan had a decree annulling the country’s ratification of the Council of Europe’s Istanbul Convention, which states that men and women have equal rights and obliges state authorities to take steps to prevent gender-based violence against women, protect victims and prosecute perpetrators.
The convention seeks to prevent violence against women, including domestic violence, and bring an end to legal impunity for perpetrators.
“The Istanbul Convention withdrawal will empower the perpetrators of violence while making the victims more powerless. So we have to take on the protection work that the authorities should do,” Gulsum Kav, Turkish feminist activist, told Al Jazeera.
Turkey’s shameful withdrawal from the Istanbul Convention will put millions of women and girls at greater risk of violence, Amnesty International said.
“President Erdogan’s announcement of the decision to quit the landmark treaty on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence will go down in history as the first time a Council of Europe member has withdrawn from an international human rights convention,” it added.
Erdogan said his country’s domestic regulations are sufficient to combat violence against women, Xinhua reported.
Turkish President Erdogan on Thursday announced a new action plan for combating violence against women.
“Just like our fight against violence toward women did not start with the Istanbul Convention, it will not end by withdrawing from this convention,” he said.