Turkish woman’s killer receives reduced jail term despite own call for maximum sentence
Dinçer Gökçe - Antalya
A Turkish court has ruled for a reduced jail term while convicting a man for killing his artist girlfriend, despite his guilty plea demanding the maximum sentence.
The body of Fulya Özdemir was found under rubbles near a cliff in the Mediterranean district of Kaş in October 2016, three years after she moved from Switzerland to her home country.
Police had detained her ex-convict boyfriend, Atilla Makta, nine days later in the western province of Tekirdağ where he had fled to the house of his uncle, who had called and informed the police.
Confessing to the murder, Makta had told the court that he punched and then stabbed Özdemir to death during a verbal quarrel. “I demand to be punished in the heaviest possible way,” he had added.
The Elmalı Heavy Penal Court has issued its verdict on the fourth hearing, but ruled for a reduced jail term despite the fact that the prosecutor had also asked for a life sentence.
The court initially sentenced Makta to life in prison, but it also cited “unjust provocation” by the victim, which reduced the jail term to 18 years, as the defense attorneys had asked for.
According to Turkish law, the convict can be released as early as 2031.
“Our pain has increased even more. I can’t understand this ruling,” the victim’s father, Eyvaz Özdemir, said.
As the detailed ruling has yet to be issued, the court’s reasoning for a reduced sentence remains unclear.
Makta had told the court in the first hearing that he had wanted to end his year-long relationship with Özdemir two weeks before the murder.
“She kept calling and harassing me. We met to talk about it. I told her that I wanted to separate from her. She replied that she was never in love anyway and she has been cheating on me with another man,” Makta had said, claiming that he “lost control over these words.”
The prosecutor had stressed in the indictment that Makta, who was also convicted for a violent crime in the past, “knows how to base his testimony on lies to get a more lenient sentence.”