The resistance is not over: the fight for the Istanbul Convention continues

At the hearing held for the annulment of the decision to withdraw from the Istanbul Convention, the Prosecutor of the Council of State gave his opinion: The annulment decision must be annulled. As nearly a thousand lawyers attended the hearing, after the prosecutor’s advice, the women again shouted, “The Istanbul Convention will keep you alive.”


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Thousands of law and life defending women have gone down in history saying, “We are not abandoning the Istanbul Convention.” During the hearing held yesterday at the 10th chamber of the Council of State, requesting the cancellation of the decision to terminate the contract with the presidential decree, the prosecutor declared that the decision to terminate the contract was illegal. The Council of State, which issued an opinion on overturning the annulment decision, said it would issue its decision on the cases later. The Council of State should make its decision within a month. The women left the courtroom chanting “The Istanbul Convention maintains life” and “Long live women’s solidarity”.

The lawsuits filed for the reversal of the President’s decision on Turkey’s withdrawal from the Istanbul Convention were heard yesterday before the 10th Chamber of the Council of State in Ankara. The Council of State’s 600-person conference room was packed with women. During the hearing, which was attended by more than a thousand female lawyers, many women from different provinces gathered in front of the Council of State in the early hours of the morning. The women, who were waiting outside the Council of State building and were not allowed to enter the courtroom on the grounds that it was crowded, reacted to the situation. The women, who forced open the doors of the Council of State, encountered the intervention of the police. Following the reactions, all the women were taken to the room. At the start of the hearing, Yılmaz Akçil, head of the 10th Department of the State Council, drew attention to the crowding of the hall and said: “This is a first in the history of the Council of State. State. This is the first time that we have had such a busy hearing.


Erinç Sağkan, President of the Union of Turkish Bars (TBB), also took part alongside the plaintiff, dressed in a lawyer’s robe. Sağkan pointed out that international conventions can be ratified by decision of the TGNA: “What has been done here with Presidential Decree No. 9 is clearly a usurpation of the authority of parliament. The decision you will make here today is an important and historic decision to be made regarding the interference of the presidential system of government in the judicial system. If the Istanbul Convention is out, when we wake up one morning, the European Convention on Human Rights may also be out. This situation indicates that if the judiciary does not say “stop” to this here, it means that the usurpation of parliamentary powers in the Republic of Turkey will be approved and proven to be appropriate for this system. It is a clear statement that there is no longer any separation of powers in Turkey, but that the legislative and the executive are united in one person. stressed that the case is “historic”: “It is a historic case. Istanbul. “The contract protects the dignity of the woman and the child. We do not accept attempted cancellation. We have opened this file. cannot protect the right to life, which we protect, none of them are worth it. Our women are dying. The Istanbul Convention is a basis for them to cling to life.

Lawyer Hülya Gülbahar, meanwhile, said: “We are discussing here the arbitrary and null and void decision of a single person. As this case drags on, the perpetrators of violence find courage. ‘have not a day to lose, we are hopeful, we want to hear the admission decision today’, these words were applauded by the women.


Speaking about the hearing, lawyer Hayel Özenç said: “The State Council prosecutor declared that the decision to terminate the contract is illegal. This is very valuable advice for us. Legally, an international contract cannot be terminated by the decision of a single person. Even if the contract is to be terminated, it must be passed by Parliament. “I don’t think President Erdogan will oppose it after a decision is made in our favor. If so many people have such a request and the court gave a positive result, if you still insist, the presidency will be questioned.”

Stating that the decision should be made within 15 days, lawyer Pınar Çelik Arpacı said, “I think the decision will be in our favor, I want to hope so. Even if the decision is against us, we will not give up. “We will fight for its reinforcement and we will see the day when the contract comes into effect,” he said.


The 10th Chamber of the Council of State will rule on the merits of the case in the coming days and the decision will be pronounced and reasoned. If the President’s decision regarding the termination of the contract is reversed, the Istanbul Convention will continue to apply. If the decision is rejected, the contract termination process will be completed. Lawyer Hülya Gülbahar pointed out that President Erdoğan can appeal if a decision is made in favor of women and continued as follows: “If President Erdoğan opposes the decision, the process will take longer. If we look at Erdogan’s current policy, it is very possible that he will oppose the decision that will be in our favor. For example, Erdogan recently spoke harshly against women’s organizations. Another example, We Will Stop Femicide Platform is supposed to be closed illegally, but we will use all national legal mechanisms for our rights. If the decision to withdraw from the Istanbul Convention is reversed, it suffices to notify the General Secretariat of the Council of Europe of the final decision so that we can be included in the agreement again.


• The “Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence”, which imposes responsibilities on States to prevent violence against women , was signed by the member states of the Council of Europe on 11 May 2011 in Istanbul. Turkey was the first country to sign this convention.
• The Contract Law was approved by the Turkish Grand National Assembly on November 24, 2011 and was approved by the Council of Ministers on February 10, 2012.
• With the decision signed by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on March 19, 2021 and published in the Official Gazette the following day, Turkey unilaterally withdrew from the Istanbul Convention. Parliament’s deactivation in the cancellation of the Istanbul Convention has created controversy.
•More than 200 lawsuits have been filed asking for the stay of execution and the annulment of Erdoğan’s decision.
•The Council of State first examined the request for a stay of execution. Despite the dissenting opinion of 2 members, 3 members rejected the request for a stay of execution.
•The IDDK Council of State, which assessed the objection, rejected the request for a stay of execution of the decision of the 10th Chamber with the votes of 8 members against the dissenting opinion of 5 members. In the rationale for the decision, it was argued that according to the Constitution, the executive power rests with the President and that the termination of international agreements rests with the executive power.

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