Turkish police fired tear gas to break up a women’s protest in Istanbul, who were marching to press for Turkey’s return to a historic treaty aimed at protecting women from violence.
ISTANBUL – Turkish police fired tear gas on Thursday to block women in Istanbul demanding the country’s return to a landmark international treaty signed in the same city to protect women from violence.
Women march along Istiklal, Istanbul’s main pedestrian street, to mark 25 November International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women. Holding colorful banners, they raised slogans and vowed not to abandon the Council of Europe’s Istanbul Convention.
Riot police, who had put up barricades at the end of the road to prevent them from moving forward, fired tear gas when a group of protesters tried to break down barriers. The Kamhuriyat newspaper reported that at least one protester was injured.
Similar protests took place in Ankara and other cities.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan pulled Turkey out of the convention in March with a surprise overnight decree that has been condemned by women’s rights groups and Western countries. A court appeal to block the move was dismissed and Turkey’s withdrawal was formalized in July.
Some officials in Erdogan’s Islam-oriented party called for a review of the agreement, arguing that it was 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 security services and collecting data on violence.
Human rights groups say violence against women is on the rise in Turkey.
The advocacy group, We Will Stop Femicide, says 353 women have been murdered in Turkey so far in 2021 and 409 women were murdered last year. In October, 18 women were killed by men and 19 others were found dead under suspicious circumstances, according to the group.