“Native” and “National” Legalism in Turkey: “We do not need Istanbul Convention!”

The struggle of women in Turkey has entered a new term following the sudden withdrawal of Turkey from the Convention on Preventing and Combating Violence against Women and Domestic Violence, i.e. the Istanbul Convention. Despite opinions that the midnight withdrawal caused shock among women's rights activists, the convention had been on the target of Turkish Government for some time. Briefly, the government was at the center of a campaign against Istanbul Convention claiming that the aim of the Convention was to promote homosexuality and establish a sexless society. Yet, the strategy of the government has not been to explicitly deny the rights governed by the Convention at all, but to replace the Convention with new “native” and “national” legal mechanisms in line with traditional Turkish cultural values. This paper will analyze how Turkey reconstructs legalism in this field, and undermines universal claims to women’s rights in order to consolidate the authoritarian transformation.