Turkey quits treaty on violence against women

President Tayyip Erdogan has pulled Turkey out of an international accord designed to protect women, according to ministers and an official notice.

The Council of Europe accord, better known as the Istanbul Convention, pledged to prevent, prosecute and eliminate domestic violence and promote equality.

Turkey signed it in 2011, but femicide has surged there regardless in recent years.

No reason was provided for the withdrawal in the Official Gazette, where it was announced.

The news sparked protests across Istanbul from those who say it is necessary to address rising domestic violence.

Housewife Ayfer Morgic says not enough is being done to protect women - with or without the convention.

"Femicide will rise even more. It didn't protect us when it was in effect anyway. Everyday women are killed in the street, in the bus, in the car. There are women who are beaten by their lovers in an elevator. Who reads their stories? When you go to the police they say: 'It's okay. He is your husband. Forgive him for the sake of your children'. But when that woman returns home, the same police officers go there a day after to take her to her funeral. How are they protecting us? Which woman has Tayyip Erdogan protected to this day? I think it is all the same, with or without the convention. Nothing changes."

Officials in Erdogan's ruling AK Party had said last year the government was considering pulling out of the convention amid a row over how to curb growing violence against women.

Some favor using domestic law to protect women's rights over outside fixes.

Many conservatives in Turkey say the pact undermines family structures, encouraging violence.

Critics of the withdrawal have said it would put Turkey further out of step with the European Union, which it remains a candidate to join.

Turkey does not keep official statistics on femicide.

But the rate roughly tripled in the last 10 years, according to a group that monitors the killing of women and girls.

It said that so far in 2021, at least 78 women have been murdered or died under suspicious circumstances.