We Do Not Give up on the İstanbul Convention!
The Republic of Turkey annulled and withdrew from the Council of Europe İstanbul Convention, which it had signed in 2011, with a decision taken by the president single-handedly in March 2022. The İstanbul Convention is the most important and most comprehensive document on violence against women to date. This convention has a great importance for women living in our lands because the main reason why this convention was prepared and opened for signature was a women’s struggle in our lands.
Nahide Opuz, whose mother was murdered and herself seriously injured by the man she was married to in Diyarbakır, filed a lawsuit against Turkey at the European Court of Human Rights when domestic law failed to yield the desired results, and the ECtHR found Turkey in violation for failing to protect Nahide Opuz against domestic violence. Following this judgment, the Council of Europe called on all member states to draft a convention to protect women against violence, and as a result of this call, the İstanbul Convention was drawn up with the participation of many women lawyers and non-governmental organizations. The most important aspect of the Istanbul Convention was this: “Culture, custom, religion, tradition or so-called ‘honor’ shall not be considered as justification for any acts of violence” against women. In its entirety, the convention contained very important provisions to protect women against violence in all areas of life.
This convention was signed during the AKP rule, but again during the AKP rule and under the president’s sole authority it was annulled. In fact, the annulment of this convention is an indication of how oppressive, discriminatory, male-dominated and military mentality has intensified in Turkey. When we look at the content of the ruling delivered by the 10th Chamber of the Council of State, we see that it also reflects an extremely dangerous point of view. With this ruling of the Council of State, Turkey becomes the representation of state governed by the decisions of a single person.
This ruling delivered by the Council of State by a majority vote despite the prosecutor’s extremely positive opinion following the due process of law, also shows the extent to which the rule of law is dominated by politics in our land.
As women human rights defenders, we attach great importance to the İstanbul Convention.We say that the İstanbul Convention is our “constitution” and we do not give up on the Istanbul Convention.