First signature from Turkey in combating violence against women
Turkey became the first country yesterday to sign a new European convention to prevent and combat violence against women, including crimes based on custom, religion, tradition or “honor.” Turkey made a special effort to finalize the text during its rotating term presidency of the Council of Europe, placing time pressure on member countries so the convention could be opened for signatures during the council’s ministerial meeting in Istanbul, when it handed the term presidency to Ukraine. Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu signed the convention yesterday, followed by representatives of 12 other countries. Most of the legal requirements of the convention are already met within Turkish legislation, Davutoglu said, adding that Turkey is also committed to overcoming any problems that may arise during the implementation process. As member states of the council ratify the treaty, they become obliged to take legislative or other measures to ensure that acts such as domestic violence, violence in public places, sexual harassment, forced marriage, “honor” crimes, rape and genital mutilation are criminalized. Thus far 13 countries – Austria, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Luxembourg, Montenegro, Portugal, Slovakia, Spain and Sweden, in addition to Turkey – have signed the convention.