Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) accepted revising a critical law on women’s rights on Friday to forge an election alliance with the Islamist New Welfare Party (YRP).
The two parties started negotiations almost two weeks ago to establish a partnership for 14 May elections, but Fatih Erbakan, the leader of the YRP announced on Monday that the negotiations had failed. Erbakan told reporters that they would not be a part of the People’s Alliance led by the AKP and the far-right Nationalist Movement Party, adding that he would be his party’s presidential candidate in elections.
While Erbakan was trying to collect the 100,000 signatures he needed to become a presidential candidate, he unexpectedly announced on Friday that his party will join the People’s Alliance.
The Law no. 6284 on the Protection of Family and Prevention of Violence Against Women, based on the Council of Europe Convention on Preventing and Combating Violence Against Women and Domestic Violence, was one of the main issues that led the YRP to previously decline the AKP’s proposal for joining the alliance.
The YRP says the law damages families and calls for its abolishment on the grounds that it discriminates against men.
The alliance document signed by the AKP and the YRP shows that the ruling party compromised on the law which is critical for protecting women’s rights.
“Priority will be given to remove stipulations in existing laws to protect the unity of the families, to new legislation that will prevent acts contradicting with our moral values and perversions, as well as to prevent unjust treatments in terms of alimony rights,” the joint document said in relation to the Law no. 6284.
Turkey formally withdrew from the Council of Europe Convention, known by many as the Istanbul Convention, a year ago. A possible election victory for President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and the People’s Alliance on 14 May will likely result in further erosion of women’s rights in Turkey.