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Turkish police fired tear gas to disperse a protest of women in Istanbul marching to demand Turkey’s return to a landmark treaty that aims to protect women from violence

ISTANBUL – Turkish police fired tear gas on Thursday to disperse a women’s protest in Istanbul demanding the country’s return to a historic international treaty, signed in the same city, which aims to protect women from violence.

Women marched along Istanbul’s main pedestrian street, Istiklal, to mark November 25 the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women. Holding colorful banners, they chanted slogans and vowed not to abandon the Council of Europe’s Istanbul Convention.

Riot police, who had erected barricades at the end of the street to prevent them from going further, fired tear gas when a group of protesters attempted to break through the barriers. At least one protester was injured, Cumhuriyet newspaper reported.

Similar protests took place in Ankara and other cities.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan pulled Turkey out of the convention with a surprise decree overnight in March, sparking condemnation from women’s rights groups and Western countries. A legal appeal to prevent the movement was rejected and Turkey’s withdrawal was formalized in July.

Some officials of Erdogan’s Islamic party had called for a review of the deal, arguing that it was incompatible with Turkey’s conservative values.

The government announced its own “Action Plan to Combat Violence Against Women”, including goals such as reviewing court procedures, improving protection services and collecting data on violence. .

Human rights groups say violence against women is on the rise in Turkey.

Advocacy group We Will Stop Femicide says 353 women have been murdered so far in Turkey in 2021, and 409 were killed last year. In October, 18 women were killed by men and 19 others were found dead under suspicious circumstances, the group said.

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ABC News

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