Around 15,000 people marched in the southern province of Mersin on Feb. 18 to protest the brutal murder of 20-year-old Özgecan Aslan.
The group gathered in and around the campus of Çağ University, where Aslan was studying psychology, and included students, families and other people from neighboring provinces. The neighboring Adana and Mersin Municipalities provided buses to the campus for the transport of citizens who wanted to attend.
The crowd, mostly wearing black outfits to mourn Özgecan, marched on the D-400 main road, carrying banners and shouting slogans against violence against women.
The banners included messages reading “Rape is a crime against humanity,” “Did you hear Özge’s scream?” “Say ‘stop’ to murders of women,” and “We are not mourning but revolting.”
The march ended at Cumhuiyet Square in the Yenice neighborhood of Mersin, after a five-kilometer walk.
Esengül Salu, who spoke in the name of the students in the protest, said they demanded new regulations for gender equality to be realized, Anadolu Agency reported.
Salu also said the authorities should examine the cooperatives tasked with providing transportation between cities to ensure that all security measures are taken, adding that all drivers should undergo vocational training.
Aslan was killed by a driver of a minibus in which she was traveling from the Tarsus district to Mersin city center.
Meanwhile, the Tarsus Buses and Motor Vehicles Cooperative (TOK) also halted all works on Feb. 18 to commemorate Aslan’s killing. Minibus drivers in the southeastern province of Diyarbakır
reacted to the murder by hanging black ribbons on their vehicles, saying they felt uncomfortable for doing the same job as the murderer.
Citizens and several non-governmental organizations also staged protests in İzmir, Antalya, Adana, Bilecik, Eskişehir, Karabük, Çankırı, Giresun, Diyarbakır
The burned body of Aslan, who had been missing for two days, was discovered on Feb. 13 in a riverbed in Tarsus. Ahmet Suphi Altındöken, 26, confessed that he stabbed Aslan to death before burning her body in a testimony to the prosecutor. Altındöken stated that Aslan had initially reacted because he was not following the bus’ normal route, hitting him, digging her nails into the back of his neck, and using a tear gas spray. He also said he then went to the back of the bus, grabbed Aslan by her hair, threw her to the ground and kicked her.
The court arrested Altındöken on charges of murder while his 50-year-old father, Necmettin Altındöken, and 20-year-old friend, Fatih Gökçe, have also been arrested on charges of being accomplices to the murder.