At least 6,375 women killed across Turkey under Erdoğan rule in last 15 years

At least 6,375 women were killed across Turkey in last 15 years under the rule of Justice of Development Party (AKP) led by Turkish autocratic President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

Violence against women and girls is one of the most widespread, persistent and devastating human rights violations in Turkey. According to information given by Şenal Sarıhan, a deputy of Turkey’s main opposition Republican People Party (CHP and deputy chairperson of the Parliamentary Commission on Human Rights Investigation, at a press conference on the occasion of November 25 International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, the annual number of women who were killed was 66 in 2002 when the AKP came to power in Turkey, however this number in the country has been 338 in the first 10 months of 2017.

WOMEN MARCH AGAINST VIOLENCE: Thousands of women marched on İstanbul’s İstiklal Avenue near Taksim Square for the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, ABC reported .
The march was officially banned under the state of emergency rules, issued after the July 2016 coup attempt. The heavy security caused a tense atmosphere before the protest.
Turkish police told group that the march would not be allowed, but the women persisted, ABC said.
But women protesters still did not walk the entire avenue, planned for the march, after a further police barricade stopped them. There, a spokesperson for the group read a statement to the media, quoted by ABC as saying that women faced violence from “husbands, fathers, lovers, ex-lovers, teachers, clients, police officers.”

The International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women is historically based on the 1960 assassination of the Mirabal sisters, political activists in the Dominican Republic whose killings were ordered by the country’s dictator Rafael Trujillo.

Stating that 50 percent of these murders have been committed under the rule of emergency declared in the aftermath of a controversial military coup attempt on July 15, 2016 as the extra-ordinary security measures are dominant in the country, CHP’s Sarıhan has said that political responsibility of these murders is belong to the AKP government.

On the other hand, according to the figures given by pro-Kurdish Fırat news agency (ANF) on Saturday, at least 1,915 women have been killed since 2010 in Turkey. The report said that two in three women were killed by their boyfriends or husbands in 2017. Moreover, at least 396 murders occurred during separation or divorce processes. In 355 murders, the women had been subjected to violence, harassment or threats beforehand. In at least 237 murders, the women had filed official complaints with fear for their safety beforehand.

Since 2010, the website maps the femicides reported in the media. The website was designed to objectively show when and where women have been killed, who killed them, what excuse was used and whether there were any negligence in the process leading up to the murders, and to participate in policies to prevent further murders.

As official numbers on femicides are not made public, according to murder numbers gathered from media organisation Bianet’s tally of male violence, 1,193 perpetrators in the murder of 1,915 women (62 percent) have been husbands, boyfriends, ex-husbands or ex-boyfriends. 213 women were killed by their fathers, sons or brothers. 114 women were killed at the hands of other male relatives.

The report stated that suspicion of infidelity, demand for divorce, refusing the reconciliation attempts of the man and “honor/tradition” have been the most prominent excuses used by men to murder women. According to data gathered from news stories on the femicides, 1,006 of the 1,915 murders since 2010 have been committed with firearms.

Meanwile, 561 women and girls in Turkey have applied to the Legal Aid Bureau Against Sexual Harassment and Rape in Detention in the last 20 years, reported by Bianet on Friday. The bureau has shared the stories of women who were harassed or raped by Turkish police or soldiers.

The Legal Aid Bureau Against Sexual Harassment and Rape in Detention, which has released a report on Saturday, stated that 561 women and girls applied to the bureau since 1997. 18 percent of these women were raped and 82 percent were sexually harassed in detention.

According to the report, 79 percent of the women harassed or raped in detention as they were under custody due to political reasons, 21 percent due to administrative reasons. 12 percent of those who were raped or harassed in detention were under 18. Kurdish people consist 74 percent; Turks consist 23 percent; Assyrian, Arabic, German, Roman, Austrian, Uzbekistani or Moldavian women consist the rest of the applicants.

One of the raped women committed suicide following the rape. Also, a 14-year-old girl was murdered by her relatives after she was raped. At least 180 legal suits have been filed following the applications submitted to the bureau. Forty-six of these files were concluded at the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) and 3 of them are ongoing. A case resulted against Turkey is now at the Supreme Court of Appeals.

According to the report, 40 percent of the applicant women (229 women) feared to take legal action. Despite that, a perpetrator soldier was discharged from duty. 14 women gave up on the legal struggle as the case continued. As one of them gave up due to the pressures she was subjected to during the trial. Another one decided not to take the case to the Supreme Court of Appeals when the case concluded with acquittal.

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