The Council Of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence, known as the Istanbul Convention, is a a human right treaty. This treaty’s objectives are the prevention of any kind of sexual or gender based violence as well as to ensure the victims rights to justice and protection. The countries that ratified this treaty commit themselves to implement policies and put in place measures to fulfil their responsibility to proactively defend and promote what is stated in the treaty.
On the 20th of March, the Turkish President, Recep Tayip Erdoğan, abolished the Istanbul Convention by a presidential decree. As the Student Senate of Turkey, we acknowledge the importance of this event. As the national organisation of students in Turkey, we wanted to ensure students' awareness of this decree and the debates surrounding it. Therefore, we organised an interview with the president of the Istanbul Bar Association, Lawyer Mehmet Durakoğlu. The seminar included his non-aligned presentation of the technical problems that arise with this decree. He also explained how the convention was complementary to the Turkish code law to ensure women and LGBTQ+ rights in the judiciary.
We are proud that in the demonstrations in Istanbul, many high school students were on the Kadıköy Square, standing for their and others' rights. This was also an example that the student voice in Turkey is growing to be one that expresses the concerns and protects their rights on the streets as well as in the publications they write, seminars they organize, and ideas they share.
On this occasion, TOS supported the student body by organising an informative seminar with the representative of all lawyers of Istanbul. We further facilitated direct meetings with policymakers and local representatives to ensure that student's voices are heard. We will keep the student body informed by the expertise and heard by the policymakers to most effectively convey our message in every issue that touches us or burdens our future.