We are shocked!
How awful! A psychopath stabs to death a 20-year-old female student because she had resisted his rape attempt. He then chops off her hands and burns her, all while ringing his father and a friend who arrive at the scene to “help” him. The next day, nearly 80 million Turks are shocked! How shocking one of us committed such a monstrous act! How could this happen in the noble land where an overwhelming majority identifies itself as “conservative” and nearly three-fourths say that they fulfil all Quranic commandments?
Does anyone remember Siirt in 2010? The serial rapes in the conservative little town, including cases of adults raping minors and minors raping toddlers, and killing one. Does anyone remember what the mayor of the town said about that horror story? “This is a small town and almost everyone is related to everyone. We’ve closed the case after consultations with the governor, the police and the prosecutor.” Well done, sir.
By a simple twist of fate, Özgecan Aslan was murdered only a few days after President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan challenged President Barack Obama over the murder of three Muslims in America, and said: “As politicians, we are responsible for everything that happens in our countries.” He was right. Just that the rule does not apply to Mr. Erdoğan.
So shocked we are, that this happened in our peaceful, innocent, noble and pious country. Where, according to official figures, a third of women face violence from their husbands or partners, and three quarters of them do so after they have divorced their husbands.
We are terribly shocked. Although, according to a January 2015 survey, 20 percent of Turkish men and 18 percent of Turkish women think that women can be slapped if necessary.
But why, really, are we shocked? Is it a Danish, not Turkish, custom to buy child brides in return for gold and cattle in the 21st century? Was it the prime minister of Sweden who once said men and women could not be equal? Or the prime minister of the Netherlands who once said that no one should expect him to respect female and male students sitting on the same bench at university campuses?
In which countries across the globe do religious scholars preach that men can marry girls of 6, 7, 9, 12 and 14 years of age? What was the country where one religious scholar recently preached that a knee-level skirt could arouse sexual desire “even for a man’s own mother?” Who are the people who cover up their women and girls because a piece of hair, if seen by a strange man, can arouse sexual desire?
Even in times of national mourning, Turkey can look ridiculously amusing. A video recording shows a high school principal in Mersin – the city where Özgecan was murdered – beating up female students in order to suppress their “No to violence against women” protest. So we pretend to be shocked, not by the school principal’s actions, but by Özgecan’s murder.
By the way, were we shocked when dozens of Turkish deputies were involved in a violent brawl in parliament, just after a session in which they made big, fancy speeches, passionately mourned Özgecan and vowed to fight violence? Press reports say that five honorable opposition members of parliament were injured, one deputy with a broken nose, another with fractures, and the others having to undergo hospital treatment.
Such was how the Turkish parliament closed a session after having commemorated the latest victim of violence in the country. That was how the honorable members of parliament protested the inherent culture of violence in their beloved country – by breaking noses and hitting opponents on the head with chairs, other handy objects and the honorable wooden gavel that opens and closes parliamentary sessions.
We are so very awfully shocked by Özgecan’s murder.