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Turkey: Statement by High Representative/Vice-President Josep Borrell on Turkey’s withdrawal of the Istanbul Convention


The Istanbul Convention is the first international legally binding instrument to combat violence against women and domestic violence. It aims at ensuring essential legal protection to women and girls across the world. This is today more important than ever, as violence against women and girls has increased to new levels world-wide as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and of the many conflicts, where women are primary victims.

Now is the time to show leadership and enhance global efforts to fight violence against women and girls, not to retreat. This is why we cannot but regret deeply and express incomprehension towards the decision of the Turkish government to withdraw from this convention that even bears the name of Istanbul. This decision risks compromising the protection and fundamental rights of women and girls in Turkey. It also sends a dangerous message across the world.

We therefore cannot but urge Turkey to reverse its decision. We hope that Turkey will soon join again the European Union in defending the rights of women and girls, a fundamental element of human rights, peace, security and equality in the 21st century.

Nabila Massrali
Spokesperson for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy
+32 (0) 2 29 88093
+32 (0) 460 79 52 44
Zoi Muletier
Press Officer for Neighbourhood and Enlargement/Foreign Affairs and Security Policy
+32 (0)2 29-94306
+32 (0)460794306