As the Movement for Unconditional Justice, this week we focused on the Istanbul Convention and its necessity, which Turkey withdrew with the Presidential decree.

  • Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence,also known as the Istanbul Convention, is a human rights convention that was opened for signature in Istanbul in May 2011, signed by Turkey without reservation and entered into force in 2014.
  • The Istanbul Convention is generally based on gender inequality created by gender norms and has emerged as a result of ongoing violence and combating this violence. However, if we are to portray the conditions of the contract more specifically, the contract came out after the Opuz decision of the ECtHR. Nahide Opuz wanted to divorce her husband, whom she married in 1995 and was subjected to violence, but she was threatened and beaten by her husband many times, and although she complained many times from 1996 to 2002, the state did not provide adequate protection against the husband. In 2002, Nahide Opuz applied to the ECtHR on the grounds that the state could not protect herself. In 2009, the ECtHR ordered the Turkish state to pay compensation for violating the prohibition of discrimination and failing to protect Nahide Opuz from the violence of her husband H.O. It is a very important decision since it is the first decision made with such a justification.
  • The Istanbul Convention was signed two years after the Opuz decision, in the encouraging climate of its decision. In fact, these are among the factors that made Turkey the first signatory. Neither the Opuz decision nor the Istanbul Convention came into being spontaneous, they are both the fruit of the women’s movement resistance put forward for women’s rights over the years.
  • The Convention is basically based on the principles of “prevention of all kinds of violence against women and domestic violence, protection of victims of violence, prosecution of crimes, punishment of criminals and finally, implementation of holistic, coordinated and effective cooperation policies in the field of combating violence against women”.
  • What makes the Istanbul Convention important is that it determines the origin of violence against women as a gender inequality that develops in a historical phenomenon and imposes positive responsibilities on the state to end this gender inequality. The Convention rejects gender discrimination as well as against all discrimination based on sexual orientation. This is an indication that the convention is not just for the protection of women. Thus, LGBT individuals can also benefit from the protection of the contract. This situation is of particular importance as Turkey is the European country with the highest number of trans murders due to the fact that Turkey had 51 trans murders recorded between 2008-2018.
  • As a fundamental rights and freedom agreement, the Istanbul Convention is even above the laws in the hierarchy of norms. In the case of a human rights agreement, it is not possible to accept such a transaction, where the rights gained from such a contract will be lost. Even if it was accepted for a moment when it was possible to withdraw from the Convention, this time the Convention, which entered into force by a parliamentary vote, should have likewise been abolished by the parliament, in line with the principle of parallelism in authority and procedure. The President of the Republic cannot take regulatory action on an issue that falls within the jurisdiction of the legislature. Therefore, the termination process made by the President’s decree is legally null and void. This decision must be cancelled with the application to be made to the Council of State.

As the Unconditional Justice Movement, we would like to state that the Law No. 6284 contains many preventive and protective measures to prevent violence against women as it is a law that takes the Istanbul Convention as a reference. The Power will not be able to escape from the obligation to prevent violence against women by withdrawing from the Istanbul Convention, because the Law No. 6284 is still in force.