Turkish top leaders hail withdrawal from European treaty protecting women

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Ankara [Turkey], March 21 (ANI): Turkish top leaders are supporting the country's withdrawal from a landmark European treaty, the world's first binding treaty to protect women from violence.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Saturday issued a decree annulling the country's ratification of the Council of Europe's Istanbul Convention, which states that men and women have equal rights and obliges state authorities to take steps to prevent gender-based violence against women, protect victims and prosecute perpetrators.

Turkey's Vice President Fuat Oktay took to social media to praise the decision, reported Anadolu Agency.

"We are determined to carry our sincere struggle to raise the reputation and dignity of Turkish women to the levels they deserve in the society, by preserving our traditional social fabric," Oktay wrote on Twitter. "There is no need to seek the remedy outside, to imitate others. The solution is in our traditions and customs, in our essence."

Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu also released a statement.

"Existence or absence of international conventions does not reduce or increase our responsibilities to prevent any form of crime that our citizens will face and our work as a requirement of this responsibility," wrote Soylu.

He noted that every sovereign state has the right to leave the party as well as become a party to international treaties and agreements.

Communications Director Fahrettin Altun also supported the decision.

"Our government will work with all its might to end violence against women and to further strengthen women's place in social life," he said in a statement.

Erdogan signed a decree to withdraw from the Istanbul Convention on Saturday that was signed in 2011, according to the country's Official Gazette, reported Anadolu Agency.

Turkey was the first country to ratify the European convention adopted in Istanbul in 2011.

The convention seeks to prevent violence against women, including domestic violence, and bring an end to legal impunity for perpetrators.

While the convention was enforced in 34 countries, including Turkey, some countries -- Ukraine, the UK, Czechia, Slovakia, Moldova, Lithuania, Liechtenstein, Latvia, Hungary, Armenia, and Bulgaria -- signed the document but have yet to ratify.

The EU signed the convention on June 13, 2017, while Council of Europe members Russia and Azerbaijan did not.

Europe's rights body, the Council of Europe, criticized Turkey's withdrawal from a treaty it sponsored and expressed concern about global efforts to protect women and girls.

French Foreign Ministry also expressed regret over Turkey's decision to leave the EU-backed Istanbul Convention on women's rights. (ANI)