Turkish women kill men to stay alive

Turkish women kill men to stay alive

Do you know how many women have been murdered in the first four months of 2015?

Let me tell you.


I don’t know how many have been added to this number in the course of the last two months.

Women who are slaughtered by men, who are usually their close relatives, try every which way to save themselves from male violence before being killed.

But all the escape routes are closed by the family, society and the state. All that remains are life stories three sentences long that are published on page three of the newspaper. 

In the course of the past four months, women killed 15 men and wounded another after being subjected to their violence and torture.

One of them is Yasemin, who is now sitting in the defendant’s chair. Yasemin would have been killed if she had not killed.

Throughout her marriage, she was subjected to the violence of Özkan Kaymaklı, her husband. When her child was born, she was subjected to the violence together with her child.

She was beaten. Her husband attacked her with a knife.

Family courts issued reconciliation decisions. She applied to police stations. When she filled out a domestic violence form in the police station, she said “yes” to the question of “Did your husband attempt to kill you?”

Yet as was the case for many other women, there was no way out for Yasemin. The day of the incident, her husband locked Yasemin and their child in a room, depriving them of food and water. In the morning he continued his violence. Yasemin could not take it anymore and defended herself and her children. She had to choose killing in order to avoid being killed.

But a Bakırköy court refused her demand for her release on the basis of self-defense. When men wear a tie and start crying, they can take advantage of many rights. But it is to no avail for women even when they defend their right to live. 

Society’s general perception reflected at court

How can it be so? What an injustice! Yasemin has a hearing on June 24. I talked to her lawyer, Duygu Eroğlu.

I asked about Yasemin’s story first.

“Yasemin is the daughter of a family from eastern Turkey. Her husband was from Istanbul, the only son of a rich family. The family of Özkan did not want him to marry Yasemin. The family cut financial support after they married. Özkan had never had to work until that day. In fact, he did not like to work. Financial difficulties started. As Özkan saw Yasemin as the person responsible for all of this, he committed violence systematically. He beat her several times to the point of leaving her face in plain blood. He tried to push her from the seventh floor. He broke her rib when she was pregnant.”

What happened the day of the incident?

“Yasemin quarreled with her husband who did not get a diaper for their baby. Özkan tried to strangle her with his belt. When he started hitting the baby, Yasemin got the knife on the kitchen table and stabbed him. He died 10 or 15 minutes after the incident. Yasemin left to seek help for her husband.”

I asked why her case had not been accepted as self-defense.

“The general problem of the perception of society reflects itself on the court delegates. Courts enable men who kill women to benefit from several legal reductions, yet no such reduction is implemented when women kill men out of self-defense. I think the court chose not to opt for self-defense since there was no trace of deadly wounds [on her body] the day of the incident. Yet there are still traces of beating on her throat and fractured bones in her hands.”