ISTANBUL – US President Joe Biden has called for Turkey to abandon an international agreement aimed at curbing violence against women.
In a White House statement posted on Sunday, Biden said Turkey’s withdrawal from the Istanbul Convention was “sudden and unfair”.
“This is a disappointing step for the international movement to end violence against women globally,” Biden said.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan terminated Turkey’s participation in the Europe Agreement through an overnight decree issued early Saturday. The move was a setback for the country’s women’s rights movement, which says domestic violence and feminism are on the rise.
Biden’s statement comes at a time of uncertain Turkish-American relations. He and Erdogan have not spoken on the phone since Biden took office in January.
The Istanbul Convention states that men and women have equal rights and obliges national authorities to prevent gender-based violence against women, protect victims and prosecute offenders.
Turkey was the first nation to sign the agreement, which names its largest city.
The European Union’s head of foreign policy, Josep Borel, called late on Saturday to renegotiate Turkey’s agreement.
“Now is the time to show leadership and step up global efforts to fight violence against women and girls, not to back down. That is why we cannot deeply regret the decision of the Turkish government to withdraw from this session and express that even Istanbul has a name.