President Biden added his voice Sunday to the international criticism of Turkey's decision to drop out of an agreement designed to prevent violence against women. "Countries should be working to strengthen and renew their commitments to ending violence against women, not rejecting international treaties designed to protect women and hold abusers accountable," Biden said in a statement posted on whitehouse.gov. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan dropped out of the treaty without giving a reason, a move Biden called "deeply disappointing." European Union officials called on Erdogan to reverse his decision, as did demonstrators Saturday. "The Istanbul Convention was not signed at your command and it will not leave our lives on your command," an official for a rights group told Erdogan in a tweet, the Guardian reports.
Biden has not talked to Erdogan since taking office, and US-Turkey relations are at a low point, per the New York Times. Adminstration officials have raised human rights concerns with Erdogan's government, and Turkey faces US penalties for buying a Russian missile system. Erdogan wants to join the European Union, but senior EU officials said Friday, the day before Turkey left the treaty, that they want to see tensions reduced. At least two recent polls found a majority in Turkey opposed abandoning the domestic violence agreement, per the Washington Post. Analysts say that Erdogan is trying to appeal to small segments of voters, though he's not up for reelection until 2023. The result, an activist said, is that Erdogan's party is giving its "attention to a very small fraction of society and putting the lives of millions of women at risk." (Read more Turkey stories.)