Women gather across Turkey in support of anti-violence treaty

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Women gathered across Turkey to implore the government to stick with the landmark Istanbul Convention, which combats violence against women. (AFP)
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Women gathered across Turkey to implore the government to stick with the landmark Istanbul Convention, which combats violence against women. (AFP)
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Women gathered across Turkey to implore the government to stick with the landmark Istanbul Convention, which combats violence against women. (AFP)
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Updated 26 July 2020

Women gather across Turkey in support of anti-violence treaty

  • Turkey may withdraw from conventions to prevent violence against women, just weeks after the murder of a female student shocked the country
  • Rights group “We Will Stop Femicides Platform” says 146 women were killed by men in the first half of 2020 in Turkey.

ANKARA: Women across Turkey gathered on Sunday in support of a landmark treaty on combating violence against women as fears grow over Ankara’s possible withdrawal from the agreement.
The demonstrations are part of the rising anger in Turkey at the growing number of women killed, including the murder of university student Pinar Gultekin this month.
There is speculation Turkey could withdraw from the Istanbul Convention that Ankara ratified in 2012, which is the world’s first binding instrument to prevent and combat violence against women, from marital rape to female genital mutilation.
The ruling party’s deputy chairman, Numan Kurtulmus, earlier this month described signing the convention as “wrong” and suggested Turkey could withdraw.
In an Ankara park where there was a heavy police presence, dozens of women came together on Sunday for a meeting organized by Ankara Women’s Platform in support of the treaty.
“If this convention is taken away from us, all women will be alone,” Cansu Ertas of the Ankara Women’s Platform told AFP. “The state will have dismissed the responsibility that falls on them” to protect women, she added.
In Istanbul, local media reported women were blocked from entering a park and so dozens decided to walk in the streets of Besiktas district, chanting, “we will not leave the streets or the squares,” according to video posted online.
For women’s rights activists, Turkey may have ratified the convention and established law 6284 to protect women but it is not implemented properly, leaving women vulnerable to violence often by their former partners, husbands or relatives.
The murder of Gultekin reportedly at the hands of her ex-boyfriend has become one more femicide known across Turkey as women demand more protection from the state.
Rights group “We Will Stop Femicides Platform” says 146 women were killed by men in the first half of 2020.
Last year, 474 women were killed, according to the group. It was 440 in 2018.
The protests in Turkey come after the Polish justice minister said at the weekend his country would start preparation on the formal process to withdraw from the treaty on Monday.


UNESCO to protect Lebanon as 60 historic buildings ‘risk collapse’

Updated 6 min 47 sec ago

UNESCO to protect Lebanon as 60 historic buildings ‘risk collapse’

  • Even before the explosion, there had been growing concern in Lebanon about the condition of heritage in Beirut due to rampant construction
  • Some of the worst damage was in the Gemmayzeh and Mar-Mikhael neighborhoods a short distance from Beirut port

PARIS: The UN’s cultural agency UNESCO vowed Thursday to lead efforts to protect vulnerable heritage in Lebanon after last week’s gigantic Beirut port blast, warning that 60 historic buildings were at risk of collapse.
The effects of the blast were felt all over the Lebanese capital but some of the worst damage was in the Gemmayzeh and Mar-Mikhael neighborhoods a short distance from the port. Both are home to a large concentration of historic buildings.
“The international community has sent a strong signal of support to Lebanon following this tragedy,” said Ernesto Ottone, assistant UNESCO Director-General for Culture.
“UNESCO is committed to leading the response in the field of culture, which must form a key part of wider reconstruction and recovery efforts.”
Sarkis Khoury, head of antiquities at the ministry of culture in Lebanon, reported at an online meeting this week to coordinate the response that at least 8,000 buildings were affected, said the Paris-based organization.
“Among them are some 640 historic buildings, approximately 60 of which are at risk of collapse,” UNESCO said in a statement.
“He (Khoury) also spoke of the impact of the explosion on major museums, such as the National Museum of Beirut, the Sursock Museum and the Archaeological Museum of the American University of Beirut, as well as cultural spaces, galleries and religious sites.”
Even before the explosion, there had been growing concern in Lebanon about the condition of heritage in Beirut due to rampant construction and a lack of preservation for historic buildings in the densely-packed city.
UNESCO said Khoury “stressed the need for urgent structural consolidation and waterproofing interventions to prevent further damage from approaching autumn rains.”
The explosion on August 4, which left 171 people dead, has been blamed on a vast stock of ammonium nitrate left in a warehouse at the port for years despite repeated warnings.
Lebanon’s government under Prime Minister Hassan Diab resigned this week following days of demonstrations demanding accountability for the disaster.