Women protesters clash with Turkish policemen during a demonstration against Turkey's withdrawal from Istanbul Convention, an international accord designed to protect women, in Istanbul, on March 20, 2021. - Thousands protested in Turkey on March 20, 2021, calling for President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to reverse his decision to withdraw from the world's first binding treaty to prevent and combat violence against women. (Photo by BULENT KILIC / AFP)

The Turkish judiciary has confirmed Turkey’s withdrawal from the international Istanbul Convention on Women’s Rights. The country’s top administrative court ruled on Tuesday that President Recep Tayyip Erdogan had the right to order the move by decree.

An alliance of opposition parties, lawyers and human rights activists had complained about this and announced demonstrations for Tuesday evening. Erdogan’s opponents had argued that the president did not have the power to revoke membership of an international agreement by decree.

However, the five-member panel of judges ruled in favor of the President by a vote of three to two. The two dissenting judges said in a separate statement that they believed Erdogan’s actions exceeded his powers.

Turkey’s largest opposition party, CHP, immediately announced that it would appeal the court’s decision. “When we are in power (…), we will reintroduce the Istanbul Convention in the first week or even in the first 24 hours,” party leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu also announced. The opposition leader is a possible candidate for the presidential elections in June 2023.

Erdogan had decided to withdraw from the convention in March 2021. The international agreement obliges its signatories to legislate to protect women from violence and to take action against acts of violence. Conservative groups in Turkey believe the convention promotes homosexuality and threatens traditional family values.