Nearly 2,000 women killed in eight years in Turkey
Nearly 2,000 women have been killed over the past eight years in Turkey, according to statistics gathered by a website tracking femicides across the country based on reports by the Bianet news website.
At least 1,915 women were killed since 2010 and the only province where no femicides were reported out of all of Turkey’s 81 provinces was the northern province of Bayburt, kadincinayetleri.org stated.
Violence against women and femicides continue to be major problems in Turkey, with statistics showing that current preventive measures are far from sufficient.
One out of every two women killed since 2010 was murdered either by their husbands or boyfriends, with at least 396 taking place at the stage of breaking up or divorce.
According to the website’s figures, the number of women subjected to violence, harassment or threats before being killed was at least 355.
Most shocking is the fact that at least 237 murders were committed despite the victimized women having applied to the state for protection.
Some 62 percent of women were killed by their husbands, boyfriends, former husbands or former boyfriends, corresponding to 1,193 femicides.
At least 213 women were killed either by their fathers, sons or brothers and 114 were killed by male relatives.
Among the “justifications” for these murders are suspicion of being cheated on, divorce requests, refusal to get back together, and so-called “honor killings.” Among the men who committed the killings were those who reportedly complained that their wife “didn’t put tomato sauce in a meal,” “made fun of my manhood,” “complained about me,” and “refused to give her phone’s password to me.”
Istanbul topped the list of provinces where femicides were committed, with 261 women killed since 2010.
The western province of İzmir followed Istanbul with 139 murders and Ankara was third with 105.
While no femicides were reported in the media in Bayburt, the least number of women killed were reported in the Black Sea provinces of Artvin, Karabük and Gümüşhane, as well as the eastern provinces of Tunceli and Bingöl.
Among the main causes of the failure to prevent murders of women is the common reduction of sentences for convicts due to “good conduct” during their trial.
A court in the southeastern province of Batman recently reduced the sentence of a man who tortured his sister to death, prompting outrage on social media.
Masum Demirtaş, who was sentenced to aggravated life sentence in prison for killing Amine Demirtaş in 2016, received a reduction in his sentence for “his good and regretful conduct” during the trial process, and was given life in prison instead.
“After I understood that I wasn’t going to be able to obtain any results from beating her, I electrocuted her five or six times in order to scare her. I thought she was pretending to have fainted [when she died],” Masum Demirtaş previously told the Batman Second Heavy Penal Court in his defense.
After the reduction in his sentence, the Batman Bar Association’s Women’s Rights Commission appealed against the ruling.
Commenting on the reductions of sentences in femicide cases, Prof. Adem Sözüer from Istanbul University’s Faculty of Law said a suspect’s sentence should not be decreased “just because he wears a tie during the trial.”
“Without a concrete reason, a suspect’s sentence should not be decreased automatically for ‘good conduct’ just because he behaved well in court,” Sözüer told daily Hürriyet.
Female lawmakers from the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) and the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) also commented on the “good conduct” reductions.
“Can a reduction of a sentence for wearing a tie be applied in a murder case? New legal regulations are necessary on this issue,” AKP Antalya deputy Gökcen Özdoğan Enç told Hürriyet, while Justice Minister Abdülhamit Gül recently stated that he is often “saddened” by “good conduct” sentence reductions.
CHP Istanbul deputy Didem Engin stressed that “sentences must be a deterrent,” while MHP Aydın deputy Deniz Depboylu also urged more severe sentences in femicide cases.
Meanwhile, thousands of women across Turkey took to the streets to mark Nov. 25, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women.
In Istanbul, a march was held on Istiklal Avenue with the participation of hundreds of women calling for an end to femicides and violence against women.
CHP deputies Sezgin Tanrıkulu and Ali Şeker, as well as Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) deputy Pervin Buldan, participated in the march.
“We are not silent or afraid and we won’t obey!” was among the slogans chanted by the women.