Until the late 1990s, the legislation that criminalised violence against women was highly insufficient and ineffective. But in 2012, the Law on the Protection of the Family and the Prevention of Violence against Women (6284) marked an important step forward. However, its enforcement is still very unequal.
The new Combating Violence against Women National Action Plan (2016-2019), which was prepared with limited NGO participation, has not yet been issued and the reports regarding the outcomes and efficiency of the previous plan has not been shared.
Although Turkey was the first country to ratify the Istanbul Convention, required legislation amendments have not been enforced as of yet, more than 2 years after it came into force.
Following the adoption of the Law on the Protection of the Family and the Prevention of Violence against Women (N.6248), the government established several Violence Prevention and Observing Centers (ŞÖNİM) in charge of monitoring and supporting the implementation of the Law. Yet, as reported by many NGOs, these centers are still too few, difficult to access, and therefore inefficient.
Turkey stated that a total of 137 shelters with a total capacity of 3,442 operate in Turkey. The capacity seems extremely low in comparison with the overall population of women which is approximately 39 million. [Shadow NGOs report CEDAW, 2016]
In the past 10 years the number of gender-related homicides has tripled. Between 2003 and 2013 domestic violence has increased more than 1,400%. In the first 8 months of 2016 alone, 175 women were killed.
For the first time, a comprehensive “Research on Domestic Violence against Woman in Turkey” was conducted in 2008 and updated in 2014. According to 2014 Research on Domestic Violence against Women, 38% of women have experienced physical and/or sexual violence and 89% of them have not applied to any institutions/organizations.
In the Global Gender Gap report, Turkey ranks 125th among 142 countries, the lowest position among any OECD country. Only 24% of women are employed; most women working outside the house have low-paying jobs, and only 12% of Turkish CEOs are women.
Regarding abortion, in February 2013 a new bill was drafted that allows healthcare providers to refuse performing abortions and provided for a mandatory “consideration time” for women.
Lastly, Turkey is plagued with startling rates of child brides. It is estimated that 14% of girls are married before the age of 18 [IHD-FIDH submission CEDAW, 2016]