Spotlight on violence against women in Turkey continues

World Today

Spotlight on violence against women in Turkey continues

Turkey has been in mourning following the vicious murder of 20-year-old university student Ozgecan Aslan last month.
Authorities say after resisting an attempted rape, she was brutally beaten, then stabbed to death. Her body was later burned and dumped into a river.
Her murder placed a spotlight on violence towards woman in this increasingly conservative country and European Union candidate.
CCTV’s Natalie Carney filed this report from Istanbul.

Duran Yasar knows all too well what it’s like to lose a daughter.

Gulay Yasar was only 27-years-old when she fell from a balcony to her death. Her estranged husband is facing murder charges.

“She just wanted to have a nice, loving family, but it didn’t happen. She worked hard to earn a living but it all ended in a very bad way,” said Duran Yasar.

Numbers from the Ministry of Justice show a shocking 14-hundred percent increase in female homicides between 2002 and 2009.

According to a Turkish human rights group, more than 30,000 women were exposed to violence last year while nearly 300 were killed.

What is not clear is whether more women are stepping forward, women who in the past may have kept quiet in the face of conservative societal pressures.

20-year-old Ozgecan Aslan’s brutal murder in February and two others shortly after sparked demonstrations all across the country.

Using the hashtag #sendeanlat (Turkish for “tell your story too”) around 1 million shared their own stories of abuse and tips for survival. However it’s not only woman that are getting angry.

Men in skirts took to the streets of Istanbul’s popular Taksim Square to show their solidarity with women and demand harsher penalties for such crimes.

“The absence of deterrent laws encourages them. Even the people in the government make incentive statements about the inequality of men and women under the name of Islam. We also condemn them,” said Ali Erkazan, a Turkish actor.

To appeal to his more conservative supporters, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said that men and women are not equal and have different societal roles.

Rights groups feel these kinds of comments are fueling an increased number of abuse cases.

“If Erdogan or other members of the political parties say something like that then people say my wife doesn’t act like that so I am justified in creating domestic Violence,” said Gonul Karahanoğlu, Kadar Women’s Association.

But Erdogan’s government says it strongly condemns violence towards woman, even suggesting there should be a review into possibly reinstating capital punishment in such cases.

For Duran Yasar and Ozgecan’s family, the hope is that all this public attention will help stop other young women from being killed in Turkey.