Turkey has withdrawn from the Istanbul Convention on women’s rights, which aims to protect women against violence.
The decision by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was published in the country’s official gazette early Saturday.
Established in 2011, the Istanbul Convention, a treaty developed by the non-EU organization Council of Europe, aims to create a legal framework to prevent and fight against violence against women and domestic violence.
Erdogan had personally signed the convention in Istanbul when he was still prime minister.
It was later ratified in Turkey, but according to the country’s We Will Stop Femicide Platform, it was never applied.
The organization seeks to stop femicide and ensure that women are protected from violence. It says it fights against all types of women’s rights violations.
Violence against women is a widespread problem in Turkey. In the past few months there have been repeated discussions about a possible exit from the convention.
Following the decision to withdraw from the convention, We Will Stop Femicide’s leader took to Twitter to call for protests.
The oganization’s general secretary, Fidan Ataselim, said the government is endangering the lives of millions of women by leaving. She called on Turkish leaders to reverse the decision and apply the convention.
In a video shared on Twitter, she said: “You cannot lock millions of women at home, you cannot wipe millions of women off the streets and squares.”
According to the organization, at least 300 women were murdered by men in Turkey last year alone. Recently, the rape and murder of a 92-year-old woman and a video of a man molesting his ex-wife fuelled debate.