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“Years of struggle by Turkish women and NGOs have been trampled on”


Tribune. On this radiant spring day, I have a date with a friend. We find ourselves, two writers, both natives of Istanbul, both living in Paris for a long time, under a flowering tree that reminds us of the erguvan, Istanbul flowers and symbols of spring.

We try to put words on our indignation, on the dread caused by Turkey’s withdrawal from the Istanbul convention on March 20, the day of the equinox: “This treaty would endanger traditional family values”, according to power. Years of NGO struggle trampled in a few hours. The message is received five out of five by violent men, now knowing themselves to be untouchable, who even upload videos of their monstrous acts.

Article reserved for our subscribers Read also Turkey’s exit from the convention against violence against women, the new provocation of Recep Tayyip Erdogan

Signed in 2011 in Istanbul by forty-five countries, the Istanbul Convention is the first international treaty which sets standards to prevent gender-based, sexual and conjugal violence, which fights for access to abortion, for the prohibition genital mutilation, against discrimination and forced marriages. And at a time when hundreds of women are dying under the blows of husbands, fathers and violent brothers, when members of the LGBTQ community and migrants are openly threatened, where pedophile acts within Islamist brotherhoods are legion, the authorities dare to publicly declare that this text would harm the morals of Turkish society.

Since then, homophobic, misogynist and racist assaults and murders abound on social networks. This withdrawal is an encouragement, a very clear signal: “justice” can now side with the aggressors. Moreover, some have already started to be exonerated and released for a few days.

Uninhibited criminals

Faced with the lies that the trolls have spread to support this withdrawal, very active Turkish NGOs are trying to explain on social networks, during online meetings, and in the media, that this convention does not govern family structures, which ‘it only provides that traditions, culture or religion cannot be used to justify acts of violence.

That the recognition of same-sex marriages is not in the convention. One “Third sex” is not introduced by the convention, that states are only required to protect the rights of victims without discrimination on any ground whatsoever, including sex, “race”, religion, language, age, marital status, sexual orientation. But, of course, as usual, we prefer to relay deliberately erroneous tweets, rather than being interested in the texts.

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