Turkey has today officially withdrawn from an international treaty to prevent violence against women, accusing it of undermining family structures.
The decision to withdraw drew condemnation from many Turks and Western allies when President Tayyip Erdogan announced it in March.
But many conservatives in Turkey and in Erdogan's Islamist-rooted AK Party say the pact undermines the family structures that protect society.
Pictured: Turkish President and leader of the Justice and Development Party (AK Party), Recep Tayyip Erdogan, speaking on Wednesday. On Thursday, Turkey officially withdrew from the Istanbul Convention - an international treaty to prevent violence against womenInsurance Loans Mortgage Attorney Credit Lawyer
Some also see the Convention - negotiated in Istanbul and signed in 2011 - as promoting homosexuality through its principle of non-discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation.
'Our country's withdrawal from the convention will not lead to any legal or practical shortcoming in the prevention of violence against women,' Erdogan's office said in a statement to the administrative court on Tuesday.
Thousands were set to protest across Turkey, where a court appeal to halt the withdrawal was rejected this week.
'We will continue our struggle,' Canan Gullu, president of the Federation of Turkish Women's Associations, said on Wednesday. '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.
The Istanbul Convention, negotiated in Turkey's biggest city and signed in 2011, committed its signatories to prevent and prosecute domestic violence and promote equality.
Thousands were set to protest across Turkey, where a court appeal to halt the withdrawal was rejected this week. Pictured: Activists in Istanbul protest against Turkey's withdrawal from the Convention, June 19
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