Turkey has been struggling with femicide for years, and now as Turkey withdraws from the Istanbul Convention, women are at greater risk with increasing femicide rates.
The Istanbul Convention Adopted by the Council of Europe structures and encourages the state to prevent violence against women, protect victims, and prosecute the perpetrators. Turkey signed The Istanbul Convention on May 11, 2011.
“Our Platform was founded in 2010, and our data shows that 2011 is the year with the lowest femicide rates,” says Nurşen İnal, a member of the We Will Stop Femicide Platform and Women’s Council in Turkey.
“This collected data shows that when the government says I won’t forgive violence against women, and I won’t tolerate it, the society receives the message, and perpetrators understand they won’t get away with it,” says Inal. “The implementation for the Istanbul Convention has been insufficient; hence the femicide rates have started to rise again.”
Turkey’s presidential decree announced the withdrawal from The Istanbul Convention on March 20. The Council of Europe criticized the decision as it endangers women, especially at a time when femicide and other forms of violence against women are on the rise in the country.
According to the collected data from the We Will Stop Femicide Platform in 2020, 300 women were murdered by men, and 171 were found dead suspiciously. So far in 2021, 79 women have been victims of homicide by men, and 45 have been suspiciously found dead.
Victims are commonly murdered by someone they are close to in femicide cases.
“According to our data, women are mainly murdered when they are at the divorce stage and primarily by firearms,” says İnal. “They are primarily murdered in their own homes, which should have been the safest place for them.”
The fundamental reasons for femicide in Turkey are patriarchy, the inequality between men and women, lack of economic freedom, and individual armament.
“We’ve requested so many times that authorities protect the women who are on the stage of divorce and ban individual armament,” says İnal. “If they have done that, the femicide rates would be dropped halfway.”
Women ought to be self-sufficient to protect themselves from violence. “Our statistics indicate that 11 per cent of the women in Turkey have reported violence before, and these are women who have economic freedom,” says İnal. “The women who can afford their own life tend to resist violence more, that’s why it’s significant for women to be empowered.“