Turkey's government on Thursday will unveil a fourth national action plan targeting “violence towards women” that mostly focuses on domestic violence. The plan aims to further reduce the cases plaguing Turkish women in recent years. President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan will introduce the plan and its details at the Presidential Complex during an event.
Last year, 266 women were victims of women’s murders, often at the hands of their spouses, relatives or male friends. Some 95 women were killed in the first four months of this year according to the Interior Ministry.
The action plan has been drafted by the Ministry of Family and Social Services in coordination with agencies working on the prevention of violence. It includes five main goals and dozens of activities that will be accomplished in five years. Turkey unveiled its first comprehensive action plan on the issue in 2007. For the new plan, the government consulted with nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), labor unions, international organizations, universities and media.
The plan, under the principle of “zero tolerance” towards violence, aims to respond to all types of violence – from physical violence to emotional abuse. Details are not clear yet, but it included facilitating access to legal services for victims, drafting comprehensive policies on the issue and better coordination between government agencies for a faster response to cases.
Women’s murders and domestic violence is a bleeding wound for Turkey, where ‘honor killings’ have been prevalent in the past. Improved media coverage of the issue made it more visible. But the mindset, which is also behind so-called honor killings where women were murdered by their families for staining their ‘honor,’ apparently lingers. Interior Ministry figures on the issue show murders and cases of domestic violence often stem from jealousy of husbands, partners and divorcing women’s refusal to reunite with their violent spouses.
A report by the ministry presented to the parliament last month indicates a drop in the number of domestic violence cases this year, from 77,000 to 73,000 in the first four months of 2021, while murders of women increased to 95 from 73 in the same period. Culprits were mostly husbands and boyfriends but 15% of victims suffered at the hands of their parents, siblings or children. Though several cases of domestic violence taking place outside drew public ire, the majority of domestic violence cases took place in the homes of victims.
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