Turkey withdraws from Istanbul Convention

By March 31, 2021

Turkey (MNN) — Turkey has withdrawn from the Istanbul Convention, designed to help protect women from violence. Turkey was the first country to sign the treaty in 2011.

Vincent Michael of FMI explains why Turkey’s government would reverse course. “More recently, with shifts in the West, more conservative countries (and not just Turkey, conservative Christian countries like Poland) have grown leery of the convention. They see it as maybe a backdoor way to advocate for transgender [identities] or to advocate rights for LBGT communities inside their country.”

A persistent problem

This decision comes at a time when violence against women has surged around the world due to the COVID-19 lockdowns. Michael says it’s a similar story in Turkey. “It’s not a moot point. It is a very real issue. And as President Erdogan takes Turkey into a more Islamicist way of thinking, those things will probably continue to rise more sharply.”

Michael encourages listeners to pray for the Holy Spirit to change hearts in Turkey. “You clearly see through the Gospels the value that Jesus places on women. But also, Muslim men have mothers. They have daughters. They have sisters. Pray that God would move in the heart of Muslim men, even before they become Christians, that they would become more compassionate to the needs of the women in their lives. Laws are one thing that nations set up, but hearts are another thing. And God can change hearts even in spite of laws.”



The header photo shows Istanbul, Turkey, where the treaty was opened for signature. (Alexxx1979, CC BY-SA 3.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0>, via Wikimedia Commons)