Turkish court hands down reduced sentence to another femicide perpetrator 

A man who fatally shot his wife in December 2022 received a reduced prison sentence on the grounds that he had been “provoked” and displayed good conduct in court, the Kronos news website reported

Mustafa Bulut killed his wife Selver Bulut in western Isparta province at the end of last year. He was accused of voluntary manslaughter, with the prosecutor demanding an aggravated life sentence. At the final hearing before the Isparta 1st High Criminal Court, Bulut said in his defense that his wife had provoked him during an argument. 

“I would never have hurt my wife. I was contemplating suicide, but my wife made a confession and I got very angry. I grabbed the gun I was thinking about using on myself and shot her,” he said. 

After deliberation the court sentenced Bulut to aggravated life but reduced it to 16 years, eight months in prison. 

Article 29 of the Turkish Penal Code (TCK) is often used to reduce sentences for men accused of such crimes on the grounds that the victim provoked the murder with her actions.

Turkish courts are frequently accused of interpreting laws leniently in cases of gender-based violence. They also reduce sentences for men based on “good conduct” in the courtroom, which is at the discretion of the judge.

Turkish women’s rights activists have criticized courts for handing down reduced sentences to perpetrators of gender-based violence on the grounds that they were “provoked,” saying it creates a culture of impunity and that by issuing reduced sentences based on provocation, the courts are saying victims deserved to be killed or hurt.

Moreover, such court rulings have become more common since Turkey withdrew from the Istanbul Convention.

Despite opposition from the international community and women’s rights groups, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan issued a decree in March 2021 that pulled the country out of the international treaty, which 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 member countries of the Council of Europe in 2011.

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

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