Murder Prompts Calls for Turkey to Rejoin Istanbul Convention


The recent killing of Basak Cengiz by a man wielding a samurai sword is one of hundreds of murders of women committed in Turkey every year. Women’s rights activists blame the government’s failure to prevent gender-based violence, pointing to the withdrawal from the Istanbul Convention, a 2011 landmark agreement of the Council of Europe outlining how to ensure the safety of women.

President Erdogan has lambasted feminist groups in the country for continuing to bring up the Istanbul Convention, saying his government already has laws in place that offer protection.

“Cengiz was killed because regulations protecting women are not implemented adequately in Turkey, because killing women is easy in Turkey,” Guldum Kav, cofounder of the We Will Stop Femicide platform said. Founded in 2010, the platform tracks the murders of women and its volunteers run a 24/7 hotline, organize meetings and protests, and attend court hearings to monitor how prosecutions of gender-based murders are carried out.

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