Ankara: Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced a set of measures aimed at curbing acts of violence against women on Friday, a year after he withdrew Turkey from a landmark European treaty on protecting women from violence.
Erdogan said the planned judicial reforms would bring increased prison terms when acts of “wilful killing, deliberate injury, torture and ill-treatment” are perpetrated against women and raise the minimum prison term for crimes or threats against former or current spouses. Under the plans, persistent stalking would be punishable by prison and women victims of violence would be assigned lawyers for free, Erdogan said. Erdogan added that perpetrators would not be able to benefit from penal reductions unless they “show concrete signs of remorse” and not just display good behavior during trials.
Last year, Erdogan withdrew Turkey from the Istanbul Convention, sparking protests and international condemnation. Turkey was the first country to sign the treaty that bears the name of its largest city a decade ago.
Some officials from Erdogan’s Islam-oriented party had advocated a review of the agreement, arguing it is inconsistent with Turkey’s conservative values by encouraging divorce and undermining the traditional family unit. Critics also claimed the treaty promotes homosexuality.
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Erdogan’s government had stated that it remained committed to protecting women, even though it was pulling out of the treaty.
A total of 72 women have been killed in Turkey since the start of the year, according to the We Will Stop Femicide Platform. At least 416 women were killed in 2021, with dozens of others found dead under suspicious circumstances, according to the group.
The Turkish leader said the reforms would soon be submitted to parliament for approval.