Despite being the first country to approve it, Turkey has withdrawn from the Istanbul Convention, announcing the decision via an official gazette. However, jurists have argued that the decision is void, arguing that Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan had no authority to remove the convention and that fundamental rights could not be regulated by a presidential decree, Evrensel Gazetesi reports.
The decision is void
Stressing that the president had no authority to dissolve the Istanbul Convention, the Istanbul Bar Association Women’s Rights Centre stated, “That decison is void and the Istanbul Convention, passed by the Turkish parliament on 24 November 2011, is in force”. Another jurist, Ece Güner Toprak, said the convention could not be dissolved by a presidential decree, adding “According to Constitutional Law’s 90th article, the Istanbul Convention has the force of law. A decree cannot be prepared regarding basic rights. That decree is a violation of the constitution, and the Constitutional Court will reverse it”.
Sharing her statement on social media, Toprak said the convention had come into force in accordance with international law and it could only be dissolved in the same way.
#İstanbulSözleşmesi Kararname ile FESHEDİLEMEZ! Anayasamız 90. Maddesine göre İstanbul Sözleşmesi Kanun hükmündedir (hatta üstünde). + temel haklarda Kararname düzenlenemez (AY 104). Geçen yıl yazmıştım (kısa notum ekte).. Kararname, Anayasamızın ihlali; AYM iptal edecektir. pic.twitter.com/B3jQkdJUhg
— Av. Ece Güner Toprak (@EceGunerToprak) March 20, 2021
90th and 104th articles of the constitution
According to the constitution’s 90th article, the approval of the agreements made by foreign countries and international organisations on behalf of Turkey is possible only when approved by the Turkish grand national assembly.
On the other hand, according to the 104th article of the constitution, the president has the authority to issue decrees on issues relating to executive power, but no authority to issue decrees on fundamental rights.
Acar: It will pave the way for violations against women
Feride Acar, one of the contributors to the Istanbul Convention during its preparation, also reacted against the removal of the convention. Acar noted that the state left women defenceless and added that the decision meant the state ignored the safety of women.
Acar also said that withdrawing from the convention would pave the way for more violations against women
Reactions of bar associations
Meanwhile, as Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu defended the withdrawal decision of president Erdoğan, several bar associations, non-govermental organisations and political parties reacted against the decision.
Bar associations, including those in Ankara, Istanbul and Diyarbakır, shared their thoughts on social media using the hashtag #istanbulsözleşmesiyaşatır.
After the decision of withdrawal from İstanbul Convention, women took to the streets across Turkey. Women demand the convention be implemented. Thousands of women gathered in İstanbul to protest the decision.
— ÇHD İstanbul Şube (@CHDistanbul) March 20, 2021