GENDER EQUALITY in TURKEY– Main statutes
The title of Article 10 of the 1982 Constitution is “Equality Before the Law”. In general terms, the Article includes the term equality, while stating that “women and men have equal rights and it is the State’s duty to implement this equality”. On the other hand, by adding that the measures taken with this purpose cannot be contradictory to the principle of equality, this Article gives a gateway to positive discrimination.
In Turkish law, Law no. 4320 which is “Law on the Protection of the Family” is regulated on 17th January 1998. Subsequently, by taking the criticized aspects of this law into account, with the contribution of the Civil Society, Law no. 6284, Law on the Protection of the Family and the Prevention of Violence Against Women, is passed at the Turkish Parliament on 8th March 2012 and annulled the prior statute stated above.
According to Article 90 of the 1982 Turkish Constitution, in case of different regulations between an international convention and a law, international conventions will be taken into account. That is why international conventions on women’s rights are crucial.
Turkey signed and ratified the UN’s “Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW)” in 1985. The inquiry procedure, which was prepared in addition to the CEDAW by the UN, and which includes the communication procedure including an individual application, is accepted within an optional protocol. Turkey signed and ratified this protocol. Especially, on an application directed to the UN Human Rights Committee about Turkey dated 12th April 2012, appropriate and regulated training is recommended among others for practitioners in order “not to affect the decision-making process of stereotypic prejudices, and values”.
Turkey is a member of the Council of Europe and is a signatory country to the European Convention on Human Rights. In this context, Turkey was, unfortunately, a part of a European Court of Human Rights case which was maybe one of the most important violation decisions regarding Women’s identity rights and violence. Opuz Case set the ground for the “Council of Europe Convention on Preventing and Combating Violence Against Women and Domestic Violence”, which establishes a specific monitoring mechanism in order to ensure effective implementation of its provisions by all signatories. Turkey, as one of the first signatory countries (24th November 2011), withdrew from the Istanbul Convention with the President’s Decision as of 1st July 2021 (Official Gazette 20th March 2021).