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“Hang On: Istanbul Convention” project

“Hang On: Istanbul Convention” project

“We were responsible for implementing the Istanbul Convention. The EU made this possible.”

“Hang On: Istanbul Convention” project

On May 11, 2011, a big step was taken in Istanbul to prevent violence against women.

The Council of Europe Convention on Preventing and Combating Violence Against Women and Domestic Violence was signed. The Republic of Turkey was the first country to sign this Convention. The convention entered into force in 2014.

With the Istanbul Convention, women gained a strong legal tool to protect themselves. The state is now obliged to prevent violence, protect women, and prosecute criminal offenders. It is also responsible for developing integrated policies to prevent violence against women.

However, even though it was signed five years ago, awareness of the existence, contents, and operations of the Istanbul Convention is low, even among women’s organizations.

To change this situation, Turkey’s oldest women’s organization, the Turkish Women’s Union, launched an awareness and activation campaign with the support of the European Union. “Hang On: Istanbul Convention” started in December 2015.

The Turkish Women’s Union has branches in 80 provinces, and has been holding meetings with its members and representatives of other women’s groups in seven separate two-day seminars. Participants work together to create a strategic plan to promote and implement the Istanbul Convention.

Each meeting is an opportunity for the Turkish Women’s Union to meet local authorities and the press at the same time. Though awareness of the subject is low, it always attracts great attention and gets wide coverage in the local media.

By the end of each two-day seminar, a new group of women has acquired the power of the Istanbul Convention. They learn by questioning civil service administrators and discover what data they need to collect to track the application of the convention. At the end of the project, the members of nearly 350 nongovernmental organizations will be fully informed about the Istanbul Convention and will continue to spread awareness in their own provinces.

The Group of Experts on Action Against Violence (GREVIO) oversees the implementation of the Istanbul Convention and submitted a questionnaire to selected governments in March 2016. By March 2017, the Republic of Turkey will present a report on this issue. The Turkish Women’s Union plans to create a similar study with the support of the European Union.

Sema Kendirci Uğurman, chair of the Turkish Women’s Union, emphasizes the vital nature of European Union backing. “Nongovernmental organizations do not receive enough financial support to realize all the projects they wish to. Thanks to the contributions of the European Union, we were able to carry out this initiative at the volume it deserves. For example, we were able to create all the publications required,” she explained. Sevna Somuncuoğlu, a project team member, added, “Thanks to the EU, we were able to secure the human resources required for this project and make it sustainable.”

Project scope

Fund: EIDHR 2014 – Sector: Civil Society 

Hang On: Istanbul Convention – Active provinces: Ankara, Kırklareli (Edirne, Tekirdağ), Çanakkale, Istanbul (Sakarya, Kocaeli), Bolu, Eskişehir, Bilecik, Bursa, Manisa, İzmir, Aydın, Isparta, Antalya, Muğla, Denizli, Kahramanmaraş, Adana, Mersin, Hatay, Antep, Mardin, Ordu (Ünye), Trabzon, Gümüşhane, Erzurum, Iğdır, Amasya, Nevşehir, Kayseri, Konya (Karaman)    
Duration: February 1, 2016 – February 1, 2017 (12 months)          

EU contribution: €149,821.93      

Total budget: €157,706.93