Turkish man released on furlough kills mother and sister

A man who was released from prison on a 10-day furlough killed his mother and sister and then shot himself on Monday, raising concerns of increasing femicide cases in the country, Turkish media reported.

Uğur Falay, 35, was temporarily released from prison 10 days ago. On Monday morning he fatally shot his mother and wife, and then went to a mosque in Istanbul where he shot himself.

Women’s rights activists have pointed out that Falay was released on furlough despite having a long criminal record, including inflicting injury and substance abuse. They hold the authorities accountable for the double homicide.

The incident took place amid Turkish women’s rights activists’ pleas for better protection of women vulnerable to domestic violence and femicide. According to reports, a total of 338 women in Turkey have been murdered by men in the last 12 months, and most of them were killed by a close male relation.

Activists have accused authorities of not “lifting a finger in the face of violations of women’s rights.”

Despite opposition from the international community and women’s rights groups, Turkey officially withdrew from the Istanbul Convention in July 2021, which requires governments to adopt legislation prosecuting perpetrators of domestic violence and similar abuse as well as marital rape and female genital mutilation.

President and leader of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) Recep Tayyip Erdoğan claimed at the time that the treaty had been “hijacked by a group of people attempting to normalize homosexuality” which he said was “incompatible” with Turkey’s “social and family values.”

Femicides and violence against women are chronic problems in Turkey, where women are killed, raped or beaten almost every day. Many critics say the main reason behind the situation is the policies of the 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.

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