NATO ally pulls out of landmark treaty protecting women from violence
Ozan Kose/AFP

Turkey has pulled out of the world's first binding treaty to prevent and combat violence against women, a presidential decree said Friday, in the latest victory for conservatives in President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's ruling party.

The 2011 Istanbul Convention requires governments to adopt legislation prosecuting domestic violence and similar abuse as well as marital rape and female genital mutilation.

Conservatives had claimed the charter damages family unity, encourages divorce and that its references to equality were being used by the LGBT community to gain broader acceptance in society.

The opposition CHP party criticised the move.

Gokce Gokcen, deputy chairman of the CHP responsible for human rights, tweeted that abandoning the treaty meant "keeping women second class citizens and letting them be killed."

Turkey had been debating a possible departure after an official in Erdogan's party raised dropping the treaty last year.

Since then, women have taken to streets in Istanbul and other cities calling on the government to stick to the convention.

Turkey's constitution and domestic regulations instead would be the "guarantee of the women's rights" said family, labour and social services minister Zehra Zumrut Selcuk, according to the official Anadolu news agency.

Domestic violence and femicide remain a serious problem in Turkey.

Last year, 300 women were murdered according to the rights group We Will Stop Femicide Platform.