Women in Turkey have rallied in large numbers due to concerns that country may withdraw from the Istanbul Convention . The Convention deals with systemic violence against women, and the state’s role in preventing domestic abuse.
Citing the erosion of family values and traditional gender roles, a small but determined group has lobbied Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) to withdraw the country. What seems behind the effort is an anti-Western sentiment, and the desire to revoke gender-based protections.
Turkey has a long history of femicides, the killing of women and girls by men because of their gender [2A]. Even with the Istanbul Convention in place, 417 Turkish women died as the result of domestic violence last year. Thus far this year, 205 have been killed.
The murder of 27 y.o. Pinar Gultekin by her former boyfriend ignited the Turkish women’s protests [2B]. Anti-femicide protests have, also, taken place in France, South Africa, Mexico, and Chile in recent years.
Meanwhile, Poland, Serbia, and Croatia are considering abandoning the Convention.
Violence by men against women is widely documented in the Bible. But it is something the Bible condemns.
“Scripture is full of condemnations of violence – time and again violence is associated with wickedness and condemned as ‘detestable to the Lord’ (Psalm 11, Proverbs 3 & 10).
In particular, violence against women is condemned. In Jewish law, rape was viewed as equivalent to murder (Deut 22:26), as was pressuring a woman physically (Deut 22:25–27) or psychologically (Deut 22:28–29) into sex….
We never see the word ‘abuse’, but the term ‘oppression’ (meaning crushing or burdening someone by the abuse of power or authority) is everywhere. The Psalms in particular portray oppression in a manner that echoes the way abuse survivors describe their abuser: ‘His mouth is filled with cursing and deceit and oppression; under his tongue are mischief and iniquity.’ Psalm 10
God is on the side of the oppressed and abused (Psalm 56). The scriptures clearly express God’s desire for a dramatic transformation of society for those who are burdened, marginalised, or unjustly treated (Luke 4:18-21; Proverbs 14:31; Matthew 9:13; Mark 3:4-5)” .
This is a flawed and imperfect world which means we must work all the harder to establish justice.
 CNN, “Turkish women rally against domestic violence as ruling party contemplates leaving key rights convention” by Gul Tuysuz, 8/5/20, https://www.cnn.com/2020/08/05/europe/turkey-gender-protests-istanbul-convention-intl/index.html.
 DW, “Turkey’s long history of femicides” by Daniel Bellut, 7/24/220, https://www.dw.com/en/femicide-rates-turkey/a-54311038.
 Safer Resource, “The Bible on domestic family violence”, https://www.saferresource.org.au/the_bible_on_domestic_family_violence.
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