Turkish celebrity sparks debate by hosting ‘smiling’ wife-killer

Turkish celebrity sparks debate by hosting ‘smiling’ wife-killer

ISTANBUL
Turkish celebrity sparks debate by hosting ‘smiling’ wife-killer

Popstar-turned-TV-celebrity Seda Sayan has received huge criticism after the program and even the main sponsor of show announced that it will withdraw its support over the controversy.

A Turkish celebrity has rekindled the debate surrounding a man who killed his two wives and then sought a new partner on a TV show, after hosting him on her own show and emphasizing his “smiling face.”

Sefer Çalınak, 62, had hit headlines around the world when he appeared on a marriage program on broadcaster Flash TV back in May. Despite the fact that he had killed his two previous wives and was twice released from prison thanks to government amnesties, he was looking for a new spouse on the show. However, the host asked Çalınak to leave the set after learning his background.

Nevertheless, Çalınak appeared on screens across Turkey yet again on Sept. 2, with pop star-turned-TV-celebrity Seda Sayan hosting him on another private broadcaster, Show TV, stirring controversy in a country where domestic violence remains a serious social problem.

Speaking to the camera during the live broadcast, Sayan asked: “Have you ever seen a murderer with such a smiling face?” adding that he “could be forgiven if he repents.”

“Why does a man kill his wife anyway?” she also asked.

Çalınak tried to justify the killing of one of his ex-wives after the son of the slain woman called into the program and reprimanded Sayan for hosting him.

“We’re hosting him so that other women like your mother won’t become his victim, so that he won’t be able to trap them ... Because he still wants to marry,” Sayan answered back at the victim’s son.

Before being cut off the air, the son angrily blasted Sayan and the show’s production team: “You’re putting a murderer on TV for ratings.”

Meanwhile, a number of women’s right associations filed a criminal complaint against the show on Sept. 3. Its sponsor, a kitchenware company, has also cancelled its agreement with the producers.

Sayan insisted on her Twitter account that she had hosted Çalınak to raise awareness about domestic violence. “The world talks about Sefer Çalınak. It is the people’s right to learn the details of this issue,” she tweeted.

In the same sensational program, controversial “yoga guru” Professor Akif Manaf was also hosted. Manaf recently hit headlines after being accused of sexual assault by many of his former students, as well as fraud to the amount of 1 million Turkish Liras. Many have claimed that he has become a “cult leader.”

“I have known him [Manaf] for years. He would never do such things,” Sayan said in support of Manaf during the program.

The Azeri-born yoga teacher was taken into custody but later released, albeit with an overseas travel ban.

Turkish Penal Law stipulates a prison sentence of up to two years for "praising a crime or a criminal."