Mum Locked Up After Shooting Abusive Husband Becomes Public Face Of Istanbul Convention Protesters

Story By: Feza Uzay, Sub-Editor: Marija Stojkoska, Agency:  Newsflash

Thousands more people have signed up to demand the release of a mother of two girls placed in custody and facing life in prison after accidentally shooting her abusive husband in the wake of Turkey deciding to leave the convention, designed to guarantee women’s rights.

The case of 31-year-old mother of two Melek Ipek has ended up at the forefront of protests after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced Turkey’s withdrawal from the Istanbul Convention by a presidential decree published in the official government gazette on 20th March.

Turkey signed the Council of Europe’s convention 10 years ago when it was drawn up in the Turkish city of Istanbul, but it has now decided to abandon it amid growing anger at a lack of protection for women from domestic violence and women’s rights in general in the country.


Many, including the opposition parties in the country, foreign leaders, the Council of Europe, NGOs, and people in the social media, have criticised the withdrawal.

The decision is also put the focus on the case of Melek Ipek, 31, who was beaten for years by her husband but was too scared to report it because of the lack of women’s rights in the country, and who was arrested after he beat her and left her tied naked to a chair, saying he was going to kill her when he returned from getting some food.

She had managed to get a gun when he went out and when he came in and attacked her despite being warned to stay away, the gun accidentally went off and he was shot dead.


Campaigners argue that in a country where the number of women who have lost their lives due to violence against women in 2021 alone is 79, her actions were the only thing that stopped her and her two daughters also being added to the sad total.

The main opposition party claimed that the Convention cannot be withdrawn without parliamentary approval, since it was approved by the parliament on 24th November 2011.

According to some lawyers, the right to approve the international treaties still belongs to the parliament according to Article 90 of the Constitution.


Therefore, when withdrawing from these treaties, parliamentary approval is needed.

However, according to the government, the president has the authority to withdraw from international agreements, as stated in article 3 of presidential decree no. 9.

The Turkish Presidency published an official statement blaming the LGBT community for the withdrawal from the Istanbul Convention. The statement says: “The Istanbul Convention, originally intended to support women’s rights, was hijacked by a group of people trying to normalise homosexuality, which is incompatible with Turkey’s social and family values. Hence, the decision to withdraw has been made.”


The decision caused protests across Turkey by women under the slogan “You’ll never walk alone”.

According to the data of ‘The Monument Counter’, which is an online monument to commemorate women who lost their lives due to domestic violence, the number of women who died in Turkey in the last ten years is 3,041. (

Many others suffer years of abuse often ending up crippled or disabled and like Melek Ipek are too scared to report it.


Turkish media reported how she was subjected to violence and attacked by her husband Ramazan Ipek, 36, frequently during their 12-year marriage.

She told a recent hearing where she is facing life in jail: “My husband would beat me for no reason at all. He would wake up in the morning, frustrated and angry because of a dream he had and beat me just because of it.”

She added, “He was not only violent to me but also to our children as well. He would especially beat my older daughter. My daughter had to learn not to cry when she was beaten because when she cried, he would beat her more.”


Melek, whose trial was postponed to 2nd April, is still in prison on remand.

Saying that she misses sleeping with her daughters the most, Ipek states, “I trust the justice of my country.”

A petition that had been organised on ( has attracted another 25,000 in addition to the 50,000 already had in the wake of the Turkish move and the hashtag #MelekİpekSerbestBırakılsın calling for her to be released so she can care for her traumatised daughters has also been launched.


On social media, Zehra Zumrut Selcuk, Minister of Family, Labor and Social Security, said that there was no need for the convention as the country’s constitution already protected women’s rights without giving any reason about the withdrawal of the Convention.

AKP Deputy Chairman Fatma Betul Sayan Kaya made a statement regarding the withdrawal of the Istanbul Convention and said the following: “Istanbul Convention is not that necessary. What really matters is the law. It is mandatory to replace the Istanbul Convention with a different arrangement. We are preparing the Ankara Convention.”

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