Tülay Hatimoğulları, co-chair of the Peoples’ Equality and Democracy Party (HEDEP), met with female victims of the major February earthquakes in Turkey’s southeastern province of Hatay, in a visit marking the 25 November International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women.
While paying her respects, Hatimoğulları challenged the earthquake death toll reported by the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), claiming it understated the true extent of the calamity.
“Beside our homes, we [each] mourn the loss of fifty, a hundred of our fellow citizens. They’re more than mere statistics. Each represents a life, a young child, infants… Our hearts go out to all who are grieving. I pay my respects once again to those who have lost their lives,” she said.
Simultaneously, HEDEP MPs advocated for the urgent re-ratification of the Istanbul Convention, a major international treaty designed to combat violence against women and domestic violence. Signed in Istanbul on 11 May 2011 and hence known as the Istanbul Convention, this treaty saw Turkey as its initial signatory. However, it was controversially rescinded under President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on 20 March 2021.
HEDEP’s petition argued that this withdrawal was an overreach of authority, as the Istanbul Convention, being an international agreement ratified by the Turkish Grand National Assembly (TBMM), should only be withdrawn through parliamentary consent. The petition further contended that the Presidential decision contravened the Constitution, as it involves fundamental rights that cannot be amended by Presidential decrees.
Moreover, HEDEP referred to data from the We Will Stop Femicide Platform (KCDP) and the Federation of Women Associations of Turkey (TKDF), highlighting a worrying escalation in female homicides in Turkey. This data reinforced the critical need for Turkey to reaffirm its commitment to the Istanbul Convention, recognising its vital role in fighting violence against women.