Gözde Engin from Rosa Women’s Association spoke to Jin News regarding the decision of Turkey to withdraw from the Istanbul Convention and called for women’s joint struggle and solidarity in order to defend women’s rights against such legal attacks that seek to steal the achievements of women over night.
Many women’s organisations in Turkey have been struggling with the issue of violence against women at the forefront of political agendas. Some women’s associations applied to the Council of State about the annulment of the Istanbul Convention considering it unconstitutional, while other organisations work with the slogan “femicides are political”, and continue their work against the attacks on the rights of women.
Regarding the combating male violence against women, the Istanbul Convention became the important legally binding contract on this matter. The Convention aims to protect women, children and family members who have been subjected to violence or being at risk of violence. Turkey’s withdrawal from the Istanbul Convention happened after femicide cases reached very high numbers.
‘Femicides are political’
Engin highlighted that the “femicides are political” slogan of women has become clear and easier to understand after the decision to withdraw from the Convention. Stating that pulling Turkey out of Istanbul Convention sends a message to women, Engin said, “They imply: ‘We will continue to kill you, we will continue systematic violence’ with this decision. This shows how femicides against women are political.”
Executive, legislative and judicial powers are supposed to be divided in Turkey, Engin underlined, “Therefore, it is not legally possible to withdraw from the Istanbul Convention with a presidential decree. A legislative decision given by an executive power means the hijacking of the function of legislative organs. Legally, we ignore this decision. Therefore, for us, the Istanbul Convention still holds its place.”
‘We will continue our struggle street by street’
The Istanbul Convention is a very critical issue for the women’s struggle in Turkey now, according to Engin, because “all the paths leading to this Convention was formed inch by inch by the resistance of women. No one can steal the achievement of women by withdrawing from this Convention overnight.”
Engin stressed that the Rosa Women’s Association activists will continue the women’s struggle “street by street” in order to organise women’s solidairty to preserve and defend women’s rights.
”We should increase our solidarity and increase our struggle for the Istanbul Convention, which is our most important achievement that has come into effect with our struggle. Our self organisation, our struggle and our solidarity is our strongest self-defence against violence and all attacks against women,” Engin said.