The decision by Turkey to withdraw from the Council of Europe Istanbul Convention is alarming and deeply regrettable, Foreign Minister Nikos Christodoulides said on Sunday.
“Yet another example of the backsliding of human rights and fundamental freedoms in Turkey, this time for women and girls,” he wrote on Twitter.
President Tayyip Erdogan’s government on Saturday withdrew from the Istanbul Convention, which it signed onto in 2011 after it was forged in Turkey‘s biggest city. Turkey said domestic laws, not outside fixes, would protect women’s rights.
The Council of Europe accord pledged to prevent, prosecute and eliminate domestic violence and promote equality. Killings of women have surged in Turkey in recent years and thousands of women protested on Saturday against the government’s move in Istanbul and other cities.
Germany, France and the European Union responded with dismay – marking the second time in four days Europe’s leaders have criticised Ankara over rights issues, after a Turkish prosecutor moved to close down a pro-Kurdish political party.
“We cannot but regret deeply and express incomprehension towards the decision of the Turkish government,” EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said late on Saturday.