Turkey’s legislative reforms to address violence against women, and the EU: uphill struggles, hard-won achievements and a promising ally.
This chapter investigates Turkey’s legislative reforms addressing the issue of violence against women (VAW) with a particular focus on the role of the EU. Considering the persistent domestic advocacy and the multiplicity of external factors/actors (e.g., the UN, Council of Europe and EU) that would potentially contribute to the reform process since the 1990s, the study asks if, when and how the EU actually has become a causal factor for domestic change. The chapter finds that in the adoption of the first-ever law addressing VAW (Law No. 4320) in 1998, the EU has no clear presence in the domestic context of reform. Gender equality reforms in the early 2000s and the adoption of the most comprehensive law addressing VAW (Law No. 6284) coincided with the EU accession process in Turkey. During this period, the EU gradually improved its engagement, facilitated the reform process by utilising two pathways of influence, namely conditionality (interest-driven pathway) and capacity building (norm-driven pathway). As with this new approach, the EU intermingled well with the domestic advocacy and proved that it could be an ever-promising ally of women and the women’s movement in Turkey.