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Women to protest treaty withdrawal

People took to the streets in Turkey to protest as the country quits an internatio­nal treaty to fight violence on women Slovíčka

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As Turkey withdraws from an internatio­nal treaty to combat violence against women, a move that has drawn strong criticism from Western allies, thousands of people are protesting in Turkey's largest cities. The protests came after President Tayyip Erdogan defended the withdrawal from the Istanbul Convention, negotiated in Turkey's biggest city in 2011 and designed to prevent and prosecute violence against women and domestic abuse.

"We will not be silenced, we will not fear, we will not bow down," chanted women among a crowd of several hundred who gathered in the capital Ankara. "We are not giving up on the Istanbul Convention," read a large purple banner.

"I find it unbelievab­le that the government is taking away rights instead of improving them. We wake up every day toa femicide or a trans murder and as women it's not possible to feel safe in this country," said student Ozgul, 26.

Amid heavy police presence, more than 1,000 people, mostly women, demonstrat­ed in central Istanbul, and there were smaller protests in the Aegean city of Izmir and elsewhere across the country.

Erdogan announced the withdrawal in March, saying Turkey would use local laws to protect women's rights and defended his move against those who, he said, portrayed it as "a step backwards" in the battle with violence against women.

"Our battle did not start with the Istanbul Convention and it will not end with our withdrawal from the treaty," he said. Ankara's withdrawal triggered condemnati­on from both the United States and the European Union, and critics say it puts Turkey even further out of step with the bloc that it applied to join in 1987.

A court appeal to halt the withdrawal was rejected this week. Three opposition parties also pulled out of a parliament­ary commission on to protest against the decision. "We will continue our struggle," Canan Gullu, president of the Federation of Turkish Women's Associatio­ns, said. "Turkey is shooting itself in the foot with this decision."

She said that since March, women and other vulnerable groups had been more reluctant to ask for help and less likely to receive it, with COVID-19-fuelled economic difficulti­es causing a dramatic increase in violence against them.

One monitoring group has logged roughly one femicide per day in Turkey since a sharp rise five years ago. Proponents of the Convention and related legislatio­n say more stringent implementa­tion is needed. Ditching the pact "will not lead to any legal or practical shortcomin­g in the prevention of violence against women," Erdogan's office said to the administra­tive court that rejected the appeal.

Text pochází z agentury Reuters

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FOTO REUTERS

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