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Sunday, 25 October 2020

Angered women gather across Turkey in support of anti-violence treaty

AFP , Sunday 26 Jul 2020
Women wearing protective masks hold a banner during a protest organised by Ankara Women
Women wearing protective masks hold a banner during a protest organised by Ankara Women's Platform in Ankara, on July 26, 2020, in support of a landmark treaty on combating violence against women as fears grow over Ankara's possible withdrawal from the agreement, at Kurtulu Park. (Photo / AFP)
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Women across Turkey gathered on Sunday in support of a landmark treaty on combating violence against women as fears grow over Ankara's possible withdrawal from the agreement.

The demonstrations are part of the rising anger in Turkey at the growing number of women killed, including the murder of university student Pinar Gultekin this month.

There is speculation Turkey could withdraw from the Istanbul Convention that Ankara ratified in 2012, which is the world's first binding instrument to prevent and combat violence against women, from marital rape to female genital mutilation.

The ruling party's deputy chairman, Numan Kurtulmus, earlier this month described signing the convention as "wrong" and suggested Turkey could withdraw.

In an Ankara park where there was a heavy police presence, dozens of women came together on Sunday for a meeting organised by Ankara Women's Platform in support of the treaty.

"If this convention is taken away from us, all women will be alone," Cansu Ertas of the Ankara Women's Platform told AFP. "The state will have dismissed the responsibility that falls on them" to protect women, she added.

In Istanbul, local media reported women were blocked from entering a park and so dozens decided to walk in the streets of Besiktas district, chanting, "we will not leave the streets or the squares", according to video posted online.

For women's rights activists, Turkey may have ratified the convention and established law 6284 to protect women but it is not implemented properly, leaving women vulnerable to violence often by their former partners, husbands or relatives.

The murder of Gultekin reportedly at the hands of her ex-boyfriend has become one more femicide known across Turkey as women demand more protection from the state.

Rights group "We Will Stop Femicides Platform" says 146 women were killed by men in the first half of 2020.

Last year, 474 women were killed, according to the group. It was 440 in 2018.

The protests in Turkey come after the Polish justice minister said at the weekend his country would start preparation on the formal process to withdraw from the treaty on Monday.

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