Woman who survived acid attack forgives her abuser
A young woman who survived an acid attack in the southern province of Hatay last year has forgiven her attacker, her ex-boyfriend, and withdrawn her criminal complaint.
Berfin Özek, 19, became one of the many women to survive abuse at the hands of their ex-partners and made it to newspaper headlines when women’s rights activists called for her attacker, Casim Ozan Çeltik, to be brought to justice for throwing an acid-like flammable liquid on her face last year in the İskenderun district.
The young woman was immediately taken to hospital as Çeltik escaped the scene.
Özek, who sustained severe burns on her face, was discharged from hospital after a long treatment but the traces of the attack remained on her face, losing sight in her right eye.
Eyelids and lips were made as a result of a series of operations on the young woman who was retreated.
Çeltik was sentenced to 13.5 years in prison over “deliberately injuring” and “attempting to deliberately kill,” with the prosecutors having sought life in prison.
The court ruling caused uproar in Turkey. “Does my pain amount to 13 years?” she had asked.
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan was among those who slammed the court ruling, asking what the judges would do if the same attack was carried out on their own daughters.
A year after the nationwide anger, Özek unexpectedly withdrew her complaint on April 8.
She filed a petition to the 1st High Criminal Court and withdrew her complaint against her ex-boyfriend, Çeltik.
She also added to her petition that she loved him and wanted to marry him, dismissing her lawyers who followed her trial.
Speaking about Özek’s decision to forgive Çelik, Mehtap Sert, one of her lawyers and a member of İskenderun Women’s Platform, said that they have been following her case since the beginning as the platform, but will no longer work with her.
“Since Berfin Özek’s decision is against our motto of ‘We don’t want love that kills,’ we will no longer work with her,” Sert said.
Femicides remain a major problem in Turkey, with hundreds of women getting murdered or attacked by men each year.
According to “We Will Stop Femicides,” a women’s rights platform, 66 women have been murdered already in Turkey in 2020.