A board at the Supreme Court of Appeals has found the reduction of a sentence given to a man who was convicted of the murder of a woman in Ankara in 2014 to be “reasonable” for a crime of passion because the victim rejected the man’s proposal of marriage, Turkish Minute reported, citing the T24 news website.
Hatice Kaçmaz, 33, a singer for Turkish Radio and Television (TRT), was stabbed to death by her former boyfriend, Orhan Munis, in a playground in Ankara in September 2014 after Kaçmaz rejected Munis’ proposal of marriage.
Munis was sentenced to life in prison on murder charges at the end of his trial at an Ankara court, although the lawyer representing Kaçmaz’s family claimed that he should have been tried on charges of premeditated murder and given an aggravated life sentence. The lawyer said Munis was carrying a knife on the day of the murder and met the woman with an intention of killing her.
The Kaçmaz family appealed the lower court’s ruling at the Supreme Court of Appeals, which upheld the ruling and found the reduction in sentence given to Munis to be reasonable.
The top court’s general board of criminal affairs described the murder as a crime of passion, saying that Munis committed the murder since he was overwhelmed by emotion and rage after his marriage proposal was rejected. The court made its ruling with a majority of votes, with 14 members voting in favor and five members including a woman dissenting.
The court’s decision has led to outrage among women rights groups in the country where scores of rights advocates argue that President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s move to withdraw Turkey from the Istanbul Convention and his ruling Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) rhetoric and policy of impunity have led to a large number of femicides, attempted murders and sexual abuse in the country.
Erdoğan drew condemnation from Turks and the international community for pulling Turkey out of the Council of Europe (CoE) Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence, an international accord designed to protect women’s rights and prevent domestic violence in societies, in March 2021, despite high statistics of violence targeting women in the country.
Women’s rights organizations have for years been trying to raise awareness about the increase in violence against women that has taken place in the last decade.
Many think it is linked to the policies and the rhetoric of the ruling AKP, which has its roots in political Islam, while Erdoğan has long been accused by critics of seeking to erode the country’s secular principles and limit the civil liberties of women.