ISTANBUL (Dispatches) – President Tayyip Erdogan’s AK Party is considering whether to pull Turkey out of an international accord on women, party officials say, alarming campaigners who see the pact as key to combating rising domestic violence.
The officials said the AKP is set to decide by next week whether to withdraw from the deal.
Many conservatives in Turkey say the pact, ironically forged in Istanbul, encourages violence by undermining family structures. Their opponents argue that the deal, and legislation approved in its wake, need to be implemented more stringently.
The row reaches not just within Erdogan’s AKP but even his own family, with two of his children involved in groups on either side of the debate about the Istanbul Convention.
The AKP will decide in the next week whether to initiate legal steps to pull out of the accord, a senior party official told Reuters.
"There is a small majority (in the party) who argue it is right to withdraw,” said the official.
Another AKP official argued that the way to reduce the violence was to withdraw, adding that a decision would be reached next week.
Opponents of the accord say it is part of the problem because it undermines traditional values which protect society.
"It is our religion which determines our fundamental values, our view of the family,” said the Turkish Youth Foundation, whose advisory board includes the president’s son Bilal Erdogan. It called for Turkey to withdraw from the accord.
The Women and Democracy Association (KADEM), of which Erdogan’s daughter Sumeyye is deputy chairwoman, rejects that argument. "We can no longer talk about ‘family’...in a relationship where one side is oppressed and subject to violence,” KADEM said.
Turkey would not be the first country to move towards ditching the accord. Poland’s highest court is to scrutinize the pact after a cabinet member said Warsaw should quit the treaty which the nationalist government considers too liberal.