Written answers

Thursday, 1 April 2021

Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade

Domestic Violence

Patricia Ryan (Kildare South, Sinn Fein)
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185. To ask the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade if he has communicated with the Turkish Ambassador following the recent withdrawal of Turkey from the Istanbul Convention; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [17754/21]

Photo of Simon CoveneySimon Coveney (Cork South Central, Fine Gael)
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I issued a statement on 21 March making clear that Ireland deeply regrets the decision of the President of Turkey to withdraw from the Istanbul Convention. The Convention is essential in protecting women and girls from violence. The decision to withdraw is a serious backwards step for the protection of women’s rights in Turkey, and it sends a disturbing message across Europe and beyond.

The decision is particularly incomprehensible as it comes on the eve of the tenth birthday of the Convention, and at a time of a pandemic when gender-based violence has spiked all over the world.

Ireland, and other like-minded States, as well as High Representative Borrell on behalf of the EU, have made clear our deep disappointment at the decision of the Turkish Government and have strongly urged them to reverse this decision.

This move is unfortunately one of a number of recent backward steps by Turkey on the rule of law and human rights. The recent move to ban the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), and to therefore potentially deny representation to millions of Turkish voters, is another troubling step, as are the recent actions against students and LGBT groups.

These actions run counter to Turkey’s stated commitment of pursuing a closer relationship with the EU. The EU is built on adherence to fundamental values, including defence of human rights, freedom of expression, and strict respect for the rule of law. For any meaningful progress on Turkey’s relationship with the EU to occur, Turkey will need to begin to address its internal human rights situation through a series of positive concrete actions, rather than plans and strategies.

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