Statement by Ambassador Tacan İldem, Permanent Representative of Turkey, on Violence Against Women, 1079th Meeting of the Permanent Council

Tacan İldem 26.11.2015
Thank you, Mr. Chairperson,

Turkey is fully committed to improving the living standards and the rights of women, to ensuring their full and equal participation in all spheres of life and to further strengthening their status in society. We attach great significance to the work being done in these areas in various international fora, including the OSCE. We believe increased action is necessary, particularly in such areas as preventing violence against women, promoting political awareness and economic empowerment.

Regrettably, violence against women continues to be a formidable obstacle to the realization of gender equality. No country is immune from violence against women. In keeping with our policy of zero tolerance for violence against women, Turkey actively contributed to the elaboration of the Council of Europe Convention on Preventing and Combating Violence against Women and Domestic Violence – the Istanbul Convention – and was the first country to sign and to ratify it. We have also carried out extensive legislative and practical protective work for combating violence against women. We recognize that there are still challenges ahead to fully eradicate the problem but we are very much resolved to maintain our efforts to this end. Our parliament adopted a new law in 2012 which defines and tackles domestic violence, transposing the provisions of the Istanbul Convention into our national legislation. This was the first law in Turkey that defined and tackled domestic violence broadening the scope of the previous legislation to cover all women victims regardless of their marital status, as well as other members of the family. In this connection we also attach utmost importance to the effective implementation of the Ministerial Council Decision on Preventing and Combating Violence against Women, which was adopted last year in Basel.

The practices relating to The National Action Plan on Combating Violence against Women (2012-2015) were monitored and evaluated periodically. In scope of the updating work of the National Action Plan on Combating Violence against Women for the period of 2016-2019, a draft action plan has been completed and submitted to all stakeholders. The New Action Plan being developed draws from the international conventions and our national legislation with a particular focus on the Istanbul Convention. It incorporates an effective monitoring and assessment mechanism with greater binding power upon the institutions, which also means greater responsibilities for them.

“Violence Prevention and Monitoring Centers” are the centers of reference for women who are exposed to or at risk of violence. They run monitoring activities round the clock seven days a week offering the services of consultancy, guidance as well as empowering and support. As of October 2015, the number of centers has risen to 37 and offered services to 64.798 women, 2.192 men and 17.183 children. Women’s shelters are one of the most important mechanisms in protecting and supporting women victims of violence and currently, a total of 134 shelters are available in Turkey. Women counseling centers and hotlines are also among other protection and support mechanisms.

We firmly believe that the OSCE Action Plan for the Promotion of Gender Equality has proved to be a critical tool for the empowerment of women and for the application of a gender-sensitive perspective to all OSCE activities. We regret, however, that we were unable to adopt the Draft Addendum to the Action Plan in Basel last year and have been constructively engaging in the negotiations for its adoption this year. The Addendum will provide us with a valuable update of our toolbox and help enhance the implementation of relevant UN Security Council Resolutions in the OSCE area. Turkey is committed to continue working for the Draft Addendum’s adoption this year as well.

Turkey perceives violence against women as a flagrant violation of human rights, which cannot be justified on any social, cultural or religious grounds whatsoever. It intends to do its utmost to prevent it at all levels. Combatting violence against women requires multilateral, sustained and resolute struggle. We must all make progress in empowering women. In order to do so, we must continue working to equip our Organization with strengthened tools to more effectively support our national efforts.

Thank you.