Rape, murder, violence: Turkish men continue to turn life into living hell for women

Turkey’s violence against women and femicide plagues have been ongoing, with Turkish men continuing their murders thanks to the judicial impunity granted to them.

Hanım Pınarlı, a 92-year-old woman who lived alone, was sexually assaulted and killed in her house in the Sultanhisar district of the Aegean province of Aydın on March 5. The assailant was later revealed to be her 23-year-old neighbor Aytu Çetin, who also stole her belongings. He was arrested on March 6.

Çetin was seen to have a tattoo of the symbol of the far-right Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) on his hand.

Another murder took place in the Çal district of the neighboring Denizli province on March 6, where Osman Ayvaz killed his 26-year-old ex-wife Fatma Kovan with a shotgun.

The assailant was later detained in the western province of Kütahya after escaping from the crime scene.

Later on the same day, a video shared on social media showed İbrahim Zarap brutally beating his ex-wife in front of their 5-year-old child in the Black Sea province of Samsun. The footage immediately prompted outrage on social media.

Zarap was prevented from escaping the crime scene by the people around, who then handed him over to the police. The assailant on March 7 said that he was beaten by the people who intervened in the incident and that he will file a complaint against them. He was arrested on charges of attempted murder.

Multiple Turkish authorities released statements on the issue after the fury on social media, with Justice Minister Abdülhamit Gül saying that the perpetrator will receive the sentence he deserves.

Family, Labor and Social Services Minister Zehra Zümrüt Selçuk said that the ministry will get involved in the case. She noted that the woman and the child will receive all the “necessary support.”

Health Minister Fahrettin Koca bragged about the ambulance reaching the area quickly, adding that the woman’s condition is not life threatening.

Similar to the previous cases, Zarap’s social media posts showed that he is a supporter of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and the MHP.

The assailants’ support for the MHP has brought previous femicide cases to mind.

Ümitcan Uygun, an abusive man who is suspected of killing 21-year-old Aleyna Çakır and who enjoyed impunity for months despite sharing videos of himself beating the woman, is a supporter of the MHP. In September 2020, he addressed Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu and Erdoğan for help.

Uygun continued hurling death threats on social media following Çakır’s death, but no legal action was taken against him until he shared a video of himself using drugs.

Another man who enjoys impunity is Musa Orhan, who raped 18-year-old İpek Er in the Kurdish-majority southeastern province of Batman when he was a specialized sergeant. Er later killed herself because of Orhan’s sexual assaults, but the man remained under arrest for only a week.

While the Turkish judiciary protects men in femicide and violence against women cases, it’s swift in acting to sentence critics of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), which last year considered withdrawing from the Istanbul Convention – an international treaty that’s a pillar of legal protection against domestic violence and violence against women.

Thousands of women on March 6 called on authorities to fully implement the Istanbul Convention, officially the “Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence,” to prevent further deaths.

They also pointed to the lack of measures to protect women from violent men since the repeated complaints about violence or restraining orders fall short of convincing authorities that the woman in question is in danger.

Many currently wonder for how long Zarap will remain behind bars since Turkish authorities often detain or arrest men to calm the reactions on social media and release them shortly after, which was what happened in Orhan’s case.

۶,۷۳۲ woman killed by men in 18 years.

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