Workers’ Party of Turkey (TİP) deputy Sera Kadıgil snapped back at a Council of State judge at Tuesday’s hearing to assess Turkey’s withdrawal from the Istanbul Convention, a Council of Europe treaty to combat violence against women and domestic violence.
“We know that the decision to withdraw from the convention was unlawful,” news website Artı Gerçek cited the TİP spokeswoman as saying. “Even first year law students know this.”
Kadıgil continued to say the withdrawal served “no public good”, and thus President Erdoğan did not have the authority to sign the executive order to leave the convention last year. “Only Erdoğan could have benefited from this decision,” the deputy said.
Upon Kadıgil’s comments, the chairman of the judges panel requested the deputy “refrain from expressions in the name of Mr President”. Kadıgil responded citing Erdoğan’s earlier comments against his opponents.
“But he can call us sluts?” she asked, to which the observers in the court room responded with applause.
Targeting protesters who attended the massive anti-government demonstrations of 2013, named after Istanbul’s Gezi Park they started in, Erdoğan called participants “rotten” and “sluts” in a speech on 1 June.
The Council of State continues to hold hearings on appeals to the withdrawal, submitted by bar associations, opposition parties, trade unions and women’s rights organisations. Several more complaints will be assessed in the next hearing on 23rd June.
“Five hundred women have been killed since the day we left the Istanbul Convention on the whims of one man,” Journalists Union of Turkey LGBT Commission Member Banu Tuna said in the hearing. “This is gendercide.”
The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) case of Opuz v Turkey revealed the need for an extensive treaty to define state responsibility in preventing violence against women, leading to the drafting of the 2011 document in which Turkey’s activists and legal scholars played a significant role. The Istanbul Convention is named after the city it was signed in.