PSI condemns Turkey's withdrawal from Istanbul Convention: It is time to progress, not regress

Public Services International (PSI) joins the international call on President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to reconsider Turkey’s withdrawal from the Istanbul Convention, the Council of Europe Convention on Preventing and Combating Violence Against Women and Domestic Violence.

Turkey cannot turn its back on the shadow pandemic of gender-based violence during COVID-19. It is time to progress, not to regress

Testimonies of high levels of violence against women stun us. “300 femicides were recorded in 2020 and another 171 women were found dead under suspicious circumstances in Turkey” according to Turkish organisation, We Will Stop Femicides. Withdrawing from the Istanbul Convention now will add to the Turkish government’s terrible track record when it comes to human and women’s rights and will only diminish any efforts towards C190 ratification process in the country.

“Turkey cannot turn its back on the shadow pandemic of gender-based violence during COVID-19. It is time to progress, not to regress! Violence and discrimination against all women, LGBT+ and gender non-conforming people in Turkey can only be prevented if executive, legislative, judiciary and law enforcement agencies get to implement the Convention. Strong policies and gender- responsive quality public services must be put in place”, urged Rosa Pavanelli, PSI General Secretary, to President Erdoğan.

A greater backlash can be expected should Poland carry out its one-year-old plan to also withdraw from the Istanbul Convention currently under vote in Parliament. says Gloria Mills, PSI’s World Women’s Committee Vice Chair from UNISON in the UK. She highlights Amnesty International’s shadow report in 2020 concerns regarding the Polish state’s compliance with the Istanbul Convention, “focusing specifically on the definitions of violence and rape in Polish law and the failure to protect victims, including through the lack of restraining orders issued to perpetrators of domestic violence”.

If Turkey and then Poland regress, this could have a domino effect that we must stop.

PSI calls on its affiliates to join us in pressuring the Turkish government to reconsider its position

Join us in Tweeting President Erdoğan and the Turkish Embassy in your country (we have prepared a list of Twitter handles for you) urging them to reconsider and instead, really implement the Istanbul Convention

We will follow-up with a similar Twitter campaign aimed at the Polish parliament.