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f_0020489_17250 - 27 2 JustiCe through domestiC violenCe...

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2 Barbara L. Rodriguez is a Masters Candidate at The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University. J USTICE THROUGH D OMESTIC V IOLENCE L EGISLATION : I MPROVING THE I MPLEMENTATION OF T URKEY S L AW 4320 ON THE P ROTECTION OF THE F AMILY Barbara L. Rodriguez As a country that embodies the union of Islamic and Western values, Turkey plays a unique role with regard to women’s rights and domestic violence. This article analyzes the state of gender and domestic violence in Turkey, and the extent to which Law 4320 on the ‘Protection of the Family’ has been effectively implemented as a means of protecting survivors of domestic violence. The article proposes five policy recommendations to deal with the challenges Turkey has encountered in imple- menting Law 4320. Thus, in addition to advancing Turkey’s response to domestic violence, these recommendations aim to be guidelines for other countries as they enact and implement their own legislation. I NTRODUCTION As a nation that responds to the pull of diverging ideologies, Turkey exem- plifies how such pulls can impact the structure of society and its governing laws. Turkey’s unique position on the brink of dualities—Islam and the West—has resulted in conflicting views on various issues including gender
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28 roles within the country. Exploring the choices Turkey has made to bridge these conflicting perspectives can shed light on how other countries might similarly incorporate new perspectives into their national legislation amidst nationalist, religious, and cultural resistance. Debates over gender roles in society have historically shaped discussions of Islam owing to the strong positions of the latter on the former. For this reason, the role of women has often served as the focal point for distinguishing between “modern” and “traditional” Islamic societies, making Turkey’s shaping of legislation on women’s rights particularly relevant. With the aim of presenting a comprehensive and useful analysis of how women’s rights legislation can be incorporated in a predominantly Muslim country, this article focuses on Turkey’s experiences with legislation that is arguably at odds with some Muslim tenets. This article’s five sections seek to contextualize and analyze domestic violence in Turkey while identify- ing ways in which the lessons learned through Turkey’s experience can be applied elsewhere. The first part examines the debates on gender and domestic violence 1 in the contexts of Islam and Turkey. The second part discusses Turkey’s Law 4320 on the Protection of the Family. Next, the article critiques current implementation of Law 4320 and identifies benefits of improved implementation. In the fourth section, policy recommenda- tions are provided for improving such implementation. The fifth and final section concludes with reflections on how Turkey’s experience can help other countries grappling with the enactment of similar laws.
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