Debate ignites over Turkey's women's safety plan

Every day as women continue to be murdered, the Turkish government persistently weakens laws designed to protect them. A new directive, signed by President Erdoğan, was published yesterday, focusing on the development of 'evidence-based policies.' Notably, the head of religious affairs has been added to the committee formed to combat violence. This move has sparked criticism from women's rights defenders.

Publication: 26.11.2023 - 11:52
Debate ignites over Turkey's women's safety plan
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In a surprise move in 2021, President Erdoğan withdrew Turkey from the Istanbul Convention overnight. On November 25th, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, a late-night decree was published in the Official Gazette.

The directive calls for 'developing evidence-based policies and fieldwork for statistics,' and 'structuring studies on anger management, effective communication, and stress management for perpetrators of violence,' as outlined under Law No. 6284.

The name of the 'Violence Against Women Monitoring Committee' has been changed to the 'Coordination Board for Combating Violence Against Women,' with the inclusion of the head of religious affairs, Ali Erbaş, drawing attention.

(Şenal Sarıhan)

Şenal Sarıhan, President of the October 29 Women's Association (29 Ekim Kadınları Derneği), stressed that developing 'evidence-based policies' contradicts the principle of prioritizing women's testimony. Sarıhan believes that the government is seeking ways to abandon the principle that 'women's testimony is fundamental,' a tenet recognized in international law.

(Canan Güllü)

Canan Güllü, President of the Federation of Women's Associations of Turkey, interprets the directive as aiming to collect data on violence against women. However, she warns that if it targets the principle of prioritizing women's accounts, it would conflict with Law No. 6284. Güllü recalled religious edicts from the Directorate of Religious Affairs that interfere in women's lives, suggesting that religious leaders could only be informed about violence issues in the committee.

(Aylin Nazlıaka)

Aylin Nazlıaka, Deputy Chairperson responsible for the Ministry of Family and Social Services and President of the Women's Branches of the CHP, noted that the decree includes decisions on collecting data on violence against women. Nazlıaka commented on Erbaş's committee membership, stating that positioning the Directorate of Religious Affairs as a stakeholder in various issues disrupts the functioning of ministries and undermines the importance of equality.

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