Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) Istanbul Deputy Hüda Kaya and lawyer Yelda Koçak spoke to the Mesopotamia Agency (MA) about the Ankara Convention, which was put on the agenda after Turkey’s withdrawal from the Istanbul Convention.
Turkey’s sudden decision to withdraw from the Istanbul Convention was announced via Presidential Decree on 20 March. The Convention is based on a mechanism to prevent violence against women and it gives an effective role of responsibility for the State.
The stated reason for the withdrawal is that the Convention is “undermining traditional family values and structures,” according to the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government, which now claims that by “preparing a new convention, we will determine our own family values. We will show to the world the Ankara Convention”.
The strong and well-organised women’s movement in Turkey considers the Ankara Convention to be a “moderate women project” and continues to demand full implementation of the Istanbul Convention.
HDP Deputy Hüda Kaya pointed out that at least three women are killed in Turkey on a daily basis, and emphasised that the withdrawal decision was one of the “misogynist policies” of the AKP’s rule.
The Ankara Convention, which was suggested by the Turkish government “in place” of the Istanbul Convention, “is a project to confine women at home”, according to Kaya.
Kaya stated that the Ankara Convention will not go beyond drawing boundaries for women. “The Ankara Convention is a new contract that will prioritise family values and will underestimate women and leave them in the shadow of men,” she noted.
Lawyer Yelda Koçak, emphasised that withdrawal from the Istanbul Convention was a “political decision” rather than a “legal” one. “Article 104 of the Constitution is very clear. Fundamental rights, as well as personal and political rights in the Constitution, cannot be regulated by Presidential Decree,” Koçak said.
“The annulment of the international convention, which is approved by the Assembly unanimously, can only be terminated by the same procedure,” Koçak added.
The Turkish government’s suggession for a new convention has the same purpose as the withdrawal from the Istanbul Convention, Koçak further observed. “This new convention, called the Ankara Convention, will ignore many achievements of women as it will be an agreement that is hostile to women and LGBTI+ communities. This is why they decided to pull Turkey from the Istanbul Convention in the first place,” Koçak said.
“Therefore, it is necessary to implement the Istanbul Convention, not the Ankara Convention. No local or national convention can be put in the place of an international one.”