The bar associations in Turkey released a joint statement on Tuesday criticising the administration of president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan for leaving women defenceless in the face of male violence and calling upon the highest administrative court to accept appeals for the annulment of Erdoğan’s withdrawal from the Istanbul Convention.
The statement was signed by the Union of Turkish Bar Associations and every single bar association except for those in the provinces of Afyon and Karaman.
The statement was released following the murder of lawyer Dilara Yıldız by an armed assailant on Monday.
The assailant Oktay Dönmez, reportedly formerly engaged to Yıldız, was caught red-handed after shooting her in a restaurant and was taken into custody. He reportedly claimed that he was having psychiatric treatment and was suffering from mental disorder related to his faculties of perception.
The statement by the bar associations said:
“The political administration left women even more defenceless by its withdrawal from the Istanbul Convention that provides assurances of life and liberties for women, even as it was supposed to tackle effectively and specifically violence targeting them. Hence, we call upon the administration to re-sign the Istanbul Convention, and upon the Council of State to make a stand for the right to life and to accept the legal complaints filed for the annulment of the illegal withdrawal from the Istanbul Convention.”
The statement continued:
“It’s obvious that the discourses and legal regulations that may lead to a reversal of women’s political gains fuel attacks against women’s right to life. The withdrawal from the Istanbul Convention, the ineffective practicing of Law 6284, the recent discussions on maintenance, all apparently encourage those who deny that women are free individuals, and consequently lead to an increase in violence against women and femicides. Therefore we once more feel obliged to emphasise that the Civil Law and the Law 6284 ought to remain untouched, that the laws must be practiced effectively, and policies to counter gender inequality should be urgently implemented.”