Turkey pulled out of an international accord aimed at protecting women from violence, according to multiple reports.
Turkey left the Istanbul Convention, Bloomberg News reported, citing a decree published in the nation’s Official Gazette. The convention is a treaty from the Council of Europe intended to prevent violence and domestic abuse against women.
The convention has a total of 46 signatories, according to its website, including 45 countries and the European Union. Turkey signed the convention in 2011, and ratified it in 2012.
The Council of Europe’s Secretary General Marija Pejčinović Burić said in a statement that “the Istanbul Convention covers 34 European countries and 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.”
“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,” Burić said.
The notice in the Official Gazette did not provide a reason for why Turkey left the convention. However, Reuters reported that it divided President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s ruling party and his family.
Conservatives in Turkey also felt that the accord undermined family structures and that its non-discrimination based on sexual orientation promoted homosexuality, Reuters noted.
The United Nations office in Turkey said in a statement that it was “deeply concerned” about Turkey’s decision, adding that it urged Turkey to “continue protecting and promoting the safety and rights of all women and girls, including by remaining committed to the full implementation of the Istanbul Convention.”