Women march during a demonstration against violence on women in Istanbul, Turkey, Saturday, Nov. 27, 2021. (AP Photo/Emrah Gurel)

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced today a drafted package of reforms aimed at curbing violence against women. Among the new set of measures are harsher sentences for cases of deliberate assaults against women.

The plan calls for persistent stalking to be punished by jail time and for the appointment of free lawyers for female victims, Mr Erdogan said.  The president also noted that sentences will not be reduced unless the perpetrators “show concrete signs of regret” rather than just demonstrating good behaviour at trial, PA reports. 

The minimum prison term for crimes and threats against former or current spouses will also increase under the new reform.

Last year, Turkey withdrew from the Istanbul convention, sparking outrage and criticism. Turkey was the first country to sign the convention, that bears the name of its largest city, a decade ago.

Mr Erdogan’s government stated it would stay committed to protecting women despite pulling out of treaty.

According to We Stop Femicide platform, a total of 72 women have been killed in the country since the start of the year. At least 416 were killed in 2021.

The Turkish leader said the reform package will soon be submitted to parliament for approval.