Turkey treaty withdrawal 'huge setback' for women: rights chief
The withdrawal by Turkey from the world's first binding treaty to prevent violence against women is "devastating news" and a "huge setback" to efforts to combat the problem, the head of Europe's top rights body said on Saturday.
Council of Europe Secretary General Marija Pejcinovic Buric said the treaty was a "gold standard" in international efforts to protect women. The 2011 Istanbul Convention is a treaty of the Council of Europe.
"This move is a huge setback to these efforts and all the more deplorable because it compromises the protection of women in Turkey, across Europe and beyond," she said in a statement.
"The Istanbul Convention... is widely regarded as the gold standard in international efforts to protect women and girls from the violence that they face every day in our societies," she added.
Turkey late Friday pulled out of the treaty by presidential decree, in the latest victory for conservatives in President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's ruling party and his nationalist party allies.
Turkish conservatives had claimed the charter damages family unity, encourages divorce and that its references to equality were being used by the LGBT community to gain broader acceptance in society.
Turkey had been debating a possible departure after an official in Erdogan's party raised dropping the treaty last year.
Since then, women have taken to the streets in cities across the country calling on the government to stick to the convention.