Turkey has formally withdrawn from a landmark international treaty protecting women from violence.
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan had ended the country’s participation in the Council of Europe’s Istanbul Convention through a surprise overnight decree in March.
The decision prompted widespread demonstrations and condemnation from women’s rights groups and western countries.
A court appeal to stop the withdrawal was rejected this week, and Turkey formally departed the Istanbul Convention on Thursday.
Erdoğan has rejected the criticism and insisted the move will not be a step backwards for women in Turkey.
On Thursday, the President unveiled an “Action Plan for Combating Violence against Women”, which includes goals such as reviewing judicial processes, improving protection services and gathering data on violence.
“Some groups are trying to present our official withdrawal from the Istanbul convention on 1 July as going backwards,” Erdoğan said.
“Just like our fight against violence towards women did not start with the Istanbul Convention, it won’t end with our withdrawal.”
In March, the Turkish Presidency’s Directorate of Communications issued a statement saying the Istanbul Convention was “hijacked” by people “attempting to normalise homosexuality”.
Erdoğan has always defended traditional family and gender values and says combating violence against women was also a fight to “protect the rights and the honour of our mothers, wives,…