(File photo) Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan Photograph:( Reuters )
Over 1,000 women from across Turkey took part in the demonstration on the Asian side of Istanbul surrounded by a heavy police presence
Hundreds of women rallied in Istanbul on Saturday and urged Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to reverse the decision from withdrawing from anti-violence treaty. Turkey formally exits from the treaty on July 1.
In March, there was outrage against Erdogan as he pulled out of the world's first binding treaty to prevent and combat violence against women, known as the Istanbul Convention.
The anger has not subsided. Other than Saturday's rally, women's groups have planned to hold a big protest on July 1. Smaller protests have been planned in the meanwhile.
Over 1,000 women from across Turkey took part in the demonstration on the Asian side of Istanbul surrounded by a heavy police presence, an AFP correspondent said.
Some held rainbow flags while others held placards saying: "Istanbul Convention is ours."
"Our hope is always rooted in our struggles, in our organisations," Melek Ondas, of the Women's Council association, said, adding that women came from 70 provinces to Istanbul.
"We believe in the strength of our organisations. And whether the decision is overturned or not, we will continue our struggle in every way possible," she told AFP.
The 2011 Istanbul Convention, signed by 45 countries and the European Union, requires governments to adopt legislation linked to the prosecution of domestic violence including marital rape and female genital mutilation.
Women's rights organisations accuse the government of withdrawing from the treaty to appease conservatives who claimed the treaty damaged family unity.
Conservatives also suggested references to equality in the treaty were used by the LGBT community to gain broader acceptance in Turkish society.
But critics of Erdogan's decision say the withdrawal puts women in Turkey at greater risk in a country where violence against women is prevalent.
Last year, 300 women were murdered according to the rights group We Will Stop Femicide Platform, while 177 have been killed so far this year.
(With inputs from agencies)