Council of Europe leaders react to Turkey’s announced withdrawal from the Istanbul Convention

21.03.2021 - Press release

The German Federal Minister for Foreign Affairs Heiko Maas, Chair of the Council of Europe's Committee of Ministers, and the President of the Council of Europe’s Parliamentary Assembly, Rik Daems, joined their voices to the Secretary General of the 47-nation Council of Europe, Marija Pejčinović Burić, and made the following statement concerning Turkey’s announced withdrawal from the Istanbul Convention:

Turkey was the first member State to ratify in 2012 the Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence, adopted in Istanbul during the Turkish Chairmanship of the Organisation 10 years ago. And it did so by a unanimous vote at the Grand National Assembly.

We thus deeply regret the decision of the President of Turkey to withdraw from this Convention widely supported in the country, without any parliamentary debate.

We recall that the purpose of the Convention is to prevent violence against women, protect victims and prosecute perpetrators. It upholds women’s fundamental human right to a life free from violence.

Leaving the Convention would deprive Turkey and Turkish women of a vital tool to counter violence.

We therefore call on the Turkish authorities not to weaken the international system to protect women against violence put in place by the Istanbul Convention.

Background information:

Germany chairs the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe until Mai 21, 2021, focussing on the protection of human rights, democracy and the rule of law. More about the German Chairmanship here.


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