Murder triggers outrage, debate on penal code
The recent killings of women in Turkey has triggered debate over, along with criticism of, good conduct abatement practices under the penal code in these cases.
The suspect in the murder of a 20-year-old university student and ballerina confessed to the crime, authorities said on Dec. 4. The suspect in her murder, identified only as Özgür Arduç, was caught by security forces with the murder weapon in his possession.
She was stabbed to death on her way back home from a ballet class on Dec. 3 in the Altınordu district of Ordu province. She was attended by paramedics after the murder, while the attacker fled the scene. Özdemir was taken to Ordu University Training and Research Hospital yet lost her life after surgery.
Arduç, has been in prison for murder since 2005, according to Demirören News Agency.
According to the Law of Execution, he was taken to the open prison in nearby Rize province in 2018, but he escaped. When he was captured by law enforcement officers, he was transferred to a closed prison in Ordu province. After prosecutors decided he displayed “good behavior,” he was again taken to an open prison on Oct. 28 but escaped for the second time on Dec. 1. The arrest warrant was issued on Dec. 1, but he stayed at a construction site or derelict buildings during the time.
Minister: They never had an acquaintance before
Meanwhile, Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu made a statement regarding the murder of Ceren Özdemir. He said Özdemir and the murderer had never had an acquaintance before.
“From now on, both the prosecution and the law enforcement agencies will conduct the necessary investigations to reveal the exact cause of the murder. It is obvious that they [Ceren Özdemir and the murderer] have never had an acquaintance before and have not been involved in such a process. Nor is there any information that can turn this into a different direction. Hopefully, we can fully identify this situation and explain why this murder occurred,” Soylu said on a television program on private broadcaster A Haber on Dec. 5.
In another high-profile case, an Ankara court on Dec. 4 reached a verdict in the murder of 23-year-old university student Şule Çet, according to local media reports.
The court convicted suspect Çağatay Aksu to a life sentence, plus 12 years and six months, of imprisonment on convictions of “deliberate killing,” “aggravated sexual assault” and “deprivation of liberty.” The other suspect, Berk Akand, received 18 years and nine months of jail time over “being an accessory to murder,” “aggravated sexual assault” and “deprivation of liberty.”
After the verdict, Umur Yıldırım, one of Çet family’s lawyers, said that Aksu received good conduct time as spelled out in Article 62 of the Turkish Criminal Law. The article stipulates that “in case of existence of the discretionary matters of mitigation extenuating the punishment in favor of the offender, the offender is sentenced to life imprisonment instead of heavy life imprisonment, or 25 years imprisonment instead of life imprisonment.”
Speaking at a symposium, Minister of Justice Abdülhamit Gül said: “Good conduct abatement for homicides hurts consciences.”
He said that violence against women continues to increase in the entire world regardless of education level, economic development, cultural level and country.
“This is not an acknowledgment, but a situation that we must consider seriously. All public institutions, non-governmental organizations, media should be in full mobilization and cooperation in order to eliminate violence against women,” he said.
“In cases of cruel murders, remission over abstract assessments such as “time off for good behavior,” which is not based on concrete and law-based satisfactory grounds, hurts consciences. Of course, judicial authorities give their own appreciation, but it is our nation’s expectation that every decision will not cause new wounds in the conscience and society,” he said.
The General Assembly of the parliament also discussed the murder of Ceren Özdemir.
Republican People’s Party (CHP) group Vice President Özgür Özel said in accordance with the Istanbul Protocol, the sentences for these types of killings should never be abated.
Nationalist Movement Partly (MHP) Deputy Cemal Enginyurt said Turkey should “urgently have a mental health law.”
If Law No. 6284 is not applied, the Istanbul Convention is not applied, many women will be killed in this way, HDP lawmaker Tülay Oruç said.