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Statement of the President of the Congress on Turkey's announced withdrawal from the Istanbul Convention

Presidency Strasbourg, France 23 March 2021
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Statement of the President of the Congress on Turkey's announced withdrawal from the Istanbul Convention

Leendert Verbeek (Netherlands, SOC/G/PD), newly elected President of the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe joined voices with the other leaders of the 47-nation Council of Europe: Secretary General Marija Pejčinović Burić, German Foreign Minister and President of the Committee of Ministers Heiko Maas, and President of the Parliamentary Assembly Rik Daems, to express concern over Turkey’s announced withdrawal from the Istanbul Convention.

“We are deeply concerned and saddened by this news. The Istanbul Convention is a landmark treaty of the Council of Europe. It has created an international legal framework to protect women against violence by preventing, prosecuting, and eliminating violence against women and domestic violence. It was opened for signature in Istanbul during the Turkish Presidency of the Council of Europe 10 years ago and immediately signed by Turkey which ratified it one year later after the unanimous vote of the Turkish parliament.

Local and regional authorities are the closest to citizens’ every-day life and have to respond to the scourge of violence against women and domestic violence on a daily basis. This problem has increased further as a result of Covid-19. The Congress, which represents the 150.000 territorial communities in Europe, deeply regrets the decision of the President of Turkey to withdraw his country from this important Convention. This move gives the wrong signal and deprives the Turkish society of a vital and much needed tool to counter violence.

I therefore call on the Turkish authorities to reconsider and remain within the Istanbul convention for the sake of the protection of individuals against violence.” said President Verbeek.


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