Turkey announced in March 2021 its withdrawal from the Istanbul Convention – a human rights treaty on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence. This was despite intense protests from women’s right organisations and lawyers, and amidst national uprisings. The official statement from the Government to withdraw from the Convention stated that it “was hijacked by a group of people attempting to normalize homosexuality – which is incompatible with Türkiye’s social and family values.” This withdrawal resulted from the top-down and bottom-up backlash that has been ongoing since 2016, targeting women’s and LGBTQI+ rights. Increasing frequency of femicides, and incidents that violate civil and legal human rights are other significant consequences of this backlash. Women’s rights and LGBTQI+ organisations, amongst others, supported each other to counter the backlash against these rights.

Purpose of research

This grant will be used investigate top-down and bottom-up backlash against gender equality and women’s rights, as well as the strategies developed by women’s rights organisations and human rights activists to respond to this. The researcher will review existing literature, interview lawyers, feminist activists and academics The findings will be disseminated through podcasts, blogposts, and social media platforms.

About this seed-grant