57 women killed by men, 34 more died under suspicious circumstances in Turkey in March and April: report

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Fifty-seven women were murdered by men in Turkey in March and April, and 34 more died under suspicious circumstances, the We Will Stop Femicide Platform reported.

Of the 57 women who were murdered, 32 were killed by their husbands and two by ex-husbands, the report said.

Nine were slain by current or former romantic partners and 10 others by family members.

At least 13 of the victims were murdered over their decisions concerning their own lives, such as asking for a divorce, rejecting reconciliation with a romantic partner and rejecting a marriage proposal or a romantic relationship.

Sevilay Karlı, murdered last month, had filed a complaint against her former spouse for violating a restraining order. A month after her death, she was notified that her complaint had been dismissed with a decision of “no grounds for prosecution.”

In Diyarbakır Sevda Meşe, 34, was shot and killed by her estranged husband, Adem Meşe, just one hour after they finalized an uncontested divorce.

In İzmir 6-year-old Tuğçe A. was fatally shot by her father, Umut A. Reports indicate that he opened fire on his two daughters after his ex-wife, Elif A., refused to reconcile with him before he attempted suicide.

Femicides and violence against women are chronic problems in Turkey, where women are killed, raped or beaten almost every day.

According to the We Will Stop Femicide Platform, at least 315 women were murdered by men and 248 women died under suspicious circumstances throughout 2023. Of the 315 murdered, 39 had filed complaints against their attackers with the police or prosecutor’s office and had applied to the relevant authorities for protection.

Many critics say the main reason behind the situation is the policies of the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government, which protects violent and abusive men by granting them impunity.

Turkish courts have repeatedly drawn criticism due to their tendency to hand down lenient sentences to offenders, claiming that the crime was “motivated by passion” or by interpreting victims’ silence as consent.

In a move that attracted national and international outrage, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan through a presidential decree pulled the country out of an international treaty in March 2021 that requires governments to adopt legislation prosecuting perpetrators of domestic violence and similar abuse as well as marital rape and female genital mutilation.

The Council of Europe Convention on Preventing and Combating Violence against Women and Domestic Violence, better known as the Istanbul Convention, is an international accord designed to protect women’s rights and prevent domestic violence in societies and was opened to the signature of Council of Europe member countries in 2011.

Erdoğan’s allies have been calling for further rollbacks, urging the repeal of a domestic law that stipulates protection mechanisms for women who either have suffered or are at risk of suffering violence.

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