2021 February Report

In Turkey, the fight to stop femicide is entering its tenth year. The platform We Will End Femicide has been disclosing data on femicides since it raised public awareness of the need in 2010. The ministry, which is responsible for disclosing the data, must structurally declare how many women have been murdered, why, how and by whom. According to the Istanbul Convention, the state must disclose statistics, only after years do we see the Ministry of Interior begin to disclose data as a result of our struggle. In addition to explaining the reality of femicide and suspicious deaths of women, the state must put into practice concrete solutions to stop femicide. We will continue to fight to activate all relevant ministries and all mechanisms to accomplish this task.

28 women were murdered by men in February 2021, 12 women were found dead under suspicious circumstances.

The reason for 15 women’s murders could not be ascertained

This month, 28 femicides were committed, with 12 women found dead under suspicious circumstances. The reason for the murder of 15 of the 28 women could not be determined: 3 women were killed for economic reasons, 10 women were killed because they wanted to decide over their own lives, such as wanting to divorce, refusing to make peace, refusing to marry and enter into a relationship. The fact that the reason for 15 women’s murders could not be ascertained is a result of the fact that violence against women and women’s murders have been made invisible. Unless it is established by whom and why the women were murdered; unless there is a fair trial, suspects and murderers are given deterrent sentences, and no preventive measures are taken, violence against women will continue.

By whom were women murdered?

Of the 28 women murdered in February, the perpetrators of 14 were the man they were married to, 6 were the men they were with, 4 were acquaintances, 2 were their brother, 1 was her son. Of 1 woman it could not be determined who the perpetrators were.

Women were most often murdered in their own homes

16 women were murdered in their homes, 5 were murdered in the middle of the street, 1 was murdered in a car, 1 was murdered at work and 1 was murdered in a mansion, 1 was murdered in a hotel, 1 was murdered in a deserted area and 1 in a coal yard. The place of death of 1 woman could not be determined. 57% of the women’s murders committed this month were in their own homes.

The women were mostly killed with firearms.

13 of them were killed with firearms, 9 with cutting tools, 4 by drowning, 1 by a blow with a sledgehammer and 1 with a dumbbell.

The employment status of women still cannot be determined.

It is very difficult to determine the employment status of women. We believe that these important data should also be considered by members of the press. According to the data released by TUİK this month, the number of women doing “domestic work” decreased by 1 million 968 thousand compared to the previous year. Thus, according to TUİK, the number of women who are not even counted as part of the labor force in November 2020 is 9 million 773 thousand. TUİK’s explanation of presenting the data in this way is to try to obscure the true extent of women’s unemployment. Women who are not included or are removed from the workforce become more vulnerable to the dangers of gender discrimination, violence and femicide. According to available data, 7 of the 28 women murdered in February were known to be employed, but 21 had unknown employment status.

We won’t let femicide be covered up, we want the Istanbul Convention to be implemented

Last September, Sevginur Aktaş was wounded in the head with a gun, and the man she was married to claimed she had tried to commit suicide. Sevginur came out of intensive care and said in her statement, “My husband said, ‘We’re not getting a divorce,’ and shot me. ” If Sevginur Aktaş had not been able to leave the intensive care unit, the perpetrator would have tried to cover up the murder by saying it was suicide. Also this month, the DNA sample of Ümitcan Uygun matched the DNA in the body of Aleyna, who beat Aleyna Çakır to death in a live broadcast and against whom Aleyna already had a complaint pending, was not even considered a prime suspect. We want the trial to be conducted effectively and to uncover the facts about Aleyna Çakır’s death.

The perpetrators are making murders of women suspicious, they are trying to conceal the murders. The murders of women are covered up by not effectively investigating and prosecuting and labeling the murders of women as suicides, natural deaths or accidents. Women are murdered because they want to make a decision about their lives. Year after year, we try to bring to light the murders of women. As we have exposed the murder of Şule Çet, reopened the case of Aysun Yıldırım, and fought and continued to fight for Aleyna Çakır; as we have done everything, we will not let any femicide be covered up, we will let the Istanbul Convention be implemented!

Government agencies that do not take any action to expose femicides or protect women are mobilizing all their power to stop the university students’ action against injustice. Boğaziçi students’ struggle against the president-appointed rector continues. 9 students have still not been released. Most of the students who were released are under house arrest with ankle bracelets. The authorities who claim that there are not enough ankle bracelets for child abusers, perpetrators of violence against women; can now somehow provide enough ankle bracelets without difficulty while keeping the Boğaziçi students under house arrest. In the eyes of those in power, are the students who demand their rights more dangerous than the perpetrators of violence? The government should use its power to fight the perpetrators of violence, not students who demand their rights.

In Erdoğan’s statements, he says about Ayşe Buğra that she is a female academic at the university – as “wife of someone named Kavala (he is in prison because of the Gezi case)” and does not use her name as a result of his own view that he does not see women as individuals. He then made discriminatory statements against LGBTIQ+ individuals. No sexual orientation can be ignored or disconnected by saying “There is no such thing as LGBTİQ+”, “lesbian or anything else”. In their just struggle, students and LGBTİQ+ are never alone.

Özlem Zengin rejected the accusations that strip-searches are being performed in prisons again this month and said that “honorable and moral” women who have undergone strip-searches would not wait a year but would immediately express their discomfort. After the negative reactions she received, she stated that she is dedicating her life to defending the rights of all women, whether they agree or not. Zengin, who even accuses women of abusing right such as frisking, contradicts herself when she says that she dedicates her life to defending women’s rights. We would like to remind that it is not the government’s duty to accuse women when they are victims of sexual and psychological violence, but to ensure that they are not exposed to any form of violence.

University Women’s Assemblies: we will choose both the rector and our future

Young women, who say they will choose both the rector and their future, gathered just before March 8. We will continue our fight for equality and freedom on university campuses.

Worker Women’s Assemblies: We will live equal, we will have our rights

Just before March 8, we are walking with all women whose labor has been exploited and labor power bought; to live equally, get our rights and break down the system of exploitation.

High School Women’s Assemblies have been formed

This month, women from high schools held their first assembly, saying that violence knows no age, just as our struggle does not. In the face of the injustices they face in education, high school women said, “No votes for you.” With our struggle growing across all ages, no woman will ever be alone.

Don’t get used to femicide: This month we published our report in the town squares

This month we are not publishing our report, as we usually do at the beginning of each month. People should not see femicides as normal, so they will understand that the number of victims are not mere numbers. We don’t want to constantly fight for this in courthouses, on campuses and on the streets. Authorities must use their power to end femicides and expose cases of femicides that have been covered up.

We are in action on March 8 for equality and freedom

As we do every year, this year we are also taking to the streets for International Women’s Day on March 8. Adana, Alanya, Antalya, Ankara, Adıyaman, Aydın, Balıkesir, Batman, Bursa, Bitlis, Çorum, Denizli, Diyarbakır, Düzce, Eskişehir, Edirne, Elazığ, Gaziantep, Gebze, Isparta, Istanbul, Izmir, Kahramanmaraş, Kastamonu, Kocaeli, Kayseri, Kütahya, Konya, Kilis, Manisa, Marmaris, Mersin, Muğla, Nevşehir, Ordu, Sakarya, Samsun, Şanlıurfa, Tokat, Yalova and Berlin. Together we fill the town squares with our slogan “You will never walk alone.”

We are expanding our fight by establishing Women’s Assemblies in 81 provinces and all districts. We will stop the killing of women.

6284 and its consequences

Law No. 6284 regulates many measures such as a restraining order for perpetrators and a protection order for women who are victims of violence. It recognizes many rights, from empowering women financially to changing their identity. Law No. 6284, which came into force as a result of years of struggle by women’s organizations, is capable of protecting women if applied effectively. Law No. 6284, which aimed to protect women and prevent violence, became possible after the signing of the Istanbul Convention.

Although it is not known whether or not 26 women who were victims of femicide had a restraining order, only 2 women are known to have filed a court application, such as a complaint to the police, a divorce proceeding, a restraining order, or a protection order.

Although women had protection orders and court applications, they were killed by men. Law enforcement officials did not take women’s reports into account, and the investigation and prosecution procedures that were not carried out cost women their lives.

In the Pınar Gültekin case, it was decided that Mertcan Avcı was found guilty of aiding the murder, resulting in deportation, Metin Avcı remains in custody.

In the case of Fatma Şengül’s murder, the “unjust provacation discount” given to the accused was removed. He was punished for the crime of intentional homicide without any discount.

G.A. was seriously injured in a shooting by the man who was married to her. The perpetrator was taken into custody when he tried to escape.

Kardelen Lofçalı, 19, was stabbed by the man she divorced, is fighting for her life.

Saliha Duran was stabbed in the heart by her son and is fighting for her life.

Fatma Bebek, who was the victim of violence by the man she married in Adana, attempted suicide. She said, “He beat my children too and I couldn’t stand it, I wanted to die.” Fatma’s treatment is currently underway.

8 months ago, the dead body of Irakranur Tirsi was found 7 km from her home. Her 14-year-old uncle said he had killed Irakranur.

It was revealed that 4-year-old Leyla Aydemir, who was declared dead a while after her disappearance, had been the victim of sexual abuse. Although the autopsy report came out in 2018, the DNA samples of the suspects have still not been collected today.

In the case of Saniye Çetin, who was murdered 11 years ago, the acquittal of the suspects was rejected. The 7 suspects were retried and given aggravated life sentences for the crime of honor killing.

2 years ago, Masoudeh Hasehmi was murdered in Burdur by the man she was with. The perpetrator was jailed pending trial and sentenced to life in prison. The sentence was subsequently reduced to 18 years with the excuse that he committed the crime because he had been provoked.

These examples show how important the proper implementation of the Istanbul Convention and the law with number 6284 is for the protection of women’s lives. For effective protection of women, the preventive decrees must be applied, the process must be followed, every government institution must defend the rights of women, and government officials who do not do what they are supposed to do must be punished.

The truth behind the deaths of women who died under suspicious circumstances must be revealed immediately.

As we have mentioned in our reports, the number of suspicious deaths presented as suicide or from natural causes and the number of women found dead under suspicious circumstances increased significantly during the pandemic. Unfortunately, addressing suspected female deaths may be even more challenging than female homicides. It must be revealed whether the women were killed by accident, whether they were killed because of their gender (femicide), or whether it was suicide, or whether the women were driven to suicide.

Ayşe Özgecan Usta, 28 in Zonguldak lost her life when she fell from the 8th floor after an argument with the man she was with.

Merve Abasiyun, 19, who lives in Bingöl, was found hanging by her neck in the apartment where she was staying.

Betül Özdemir, 27, a student in Hatay, was found hanging by her neck in her home. It was learned that double cord marks were found on Betül’s neck.

A woman of Iraqi origin in Ankara was found murdered by the man she was living with in the house she had moved to the previous day.

The suspicious deaths of 12 women that we discovered in February must be made public immediately. What to do is obvious; the Protection Law No. 6284 and the Istanbul Convention must be effectively and fully implemented together with all institutions and organizations. Investigations into suspected femicides must be conducted carefully and completed quickly.

What happened to women in February?

The Dutch Senate approved the proposed constitutional amendment to prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation.

Chairman of the organizing committee of the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games, Mori Yoşiro resigned. He announced his resignation after increased reactions to his statements directed against women.

Pope Francesco, leader of the Catholic Church, for the first time appointed a woman as undersecretary for voting in the Council of Bishops.

In New Zealand, girls are given free sanitary pads for 3 years. In June, free feminine hygiene products will be distributed in schools across New Zealand as part of the anti-poverty program.

The Council on Gender Policy is established at the White House. The mission of the Gender Policy Council is to consider gender issues in all major decisions. The council will be represented in all ministries and offices.

Life struggles of 28 women killed in February

Canan Acer (Istanbul), shot dead by her husband Ümit Acer. The perpetrator committed suicide shortly after killing his wife.

Hatice Helvacı (Istanbul), shot dead by her husband Mehmet Helvacı after her divorce case. The perpetrator allegedly committed suicide with the same weapon he had used to shoot his wife.

Türkiye El Mohammed (Muğla), 50, was killed by thieves who entered her house Ö.E.A and A.M, using a knife.

İkram Kaplan (Kırşehir), 34, a mother of 3 children, killed by her husband Zafer Kaplan with 27 knife stabs.

Meryem Güneş (Şanlıurfa), shot dead by her partner Halil Kermeli. The perpetrator allegedly committed suicide afterwards with the same weapon.

Şule Yıldırım (Hatay), 38 years old and mother of 4 children, her partner Ercan Y. slit her throat in front of her children.

Saime Ü, mother of two children, 40 years old, living in İzmir, was murdered in front of her children by her husband Baykent Ü. It was reported that the perpetrator, who had injured his children with a knife, committed suicide with the same knife.

Melek Gürler, mother of two children, 29 years old and living in Istanbul, was strangled to death by her husband Mahmut Gürler with economic arguments. Reportedly, after the murder, the perpetrator went to work and told her family not to have any contact with Melek, and Melek obtained a restraining order against the perpetrator 6 months ago.

Zeynep İkinci, who was a nurse, 32 years old, and lived in Trabzon, was murdered by her husband Kamil İkinci with a firearm. The perpetrator reportedly committed suicide later with the same weapon.

Gülistan Şaylemez, 37, who lives in Diyarbakır, was killed in the street by her brother Abdullah Şaylemez with a firearm. Gülistan had reportedly filed a complaint about her father Abdülvehap Şaylemez and her relative Adil S. by saying, “I am afraid that my father and Adil S. will kill me. I am filing a complaint against my father and Adil S.” and she stated that she wanted to go to a women’s shelter.

Hacer Çetin, 36, who lives in Kocaeli, was killed with a firearm by Halim E., who was in a relationship with her, on the pretext that she wanted to break up with him. The perpetrator reportedly held Hacer’s body hostage for an hour and a half, after which the perpetrator was coaxed and surrendered.

Gamze Kaçar Bozkurt, 38, mother of one child, who lives in Antalya, was killed with a firearm by Yusuf Onur Kaan Bozkurt, whom she was married to. It was later learned that the perpetrator tried to kill himself with the same weapon.

Nur Cemil Hüseyin, 36, mother of 5 children, who lives in Gaziantep, was first wounded with a sharp object by Ali Hüseyin, to whom she was married, in front of her children, and then she was strangled to death. It was learned that the perpetrator later escaped from the scene of the crime.

Meral Şen, 40, a factory worker and mother of 2 children, who lives in Izmir, was killed in the street with a sharp object by Erkan Ş. with whom Meral worked at the same workplace, on the pretext that she had told the factory management that the perpetrator had come to work while drunk.

Ayşe Nazlı Kınacı, 20, who lives in Izmir, was strangled to death by Taylan Özgür İmal, whom she met in the park. The lifeless body of Ayşe Nazlı was found wrapped in a blanket in the forest area.

Mihrican Ekmenci, mother of two children, 46 years old and head teacher at a public education center, living in Samsun, was murdered with a sharp object by her husband Oğuz Taner Ekmenci.

Semiha Ikhadır, 38, living in Istanbul, was murdered out of jealousy by Majed A. who has a relationship with her. It was learned that after the murder, the perpetrator recorded a video and sent it to his friend, saying, “Whoever harmed me will end up like this, everyone will know my name.”

Hatice Toğrul, who lives in Şanlıurfa, was murdered with a firearm by her husband Mehmet Toğrul. The perpetrator later reportedly committed suicide with the same weapon.

Feride T., 72, who lives in Muğla, was killed with a sledgehammer blow to her head by Ali T., whom she was married to.

Hanife Yenisu, 46, who lives in Istanbul, was beaten with a dumbbell by Erol Yenisu, to whom she was married, with the excuse that she had a restraining order.

Birgül Y., 43, mother of 3 children, who lives in Ankara, was killed with a firearm in the street by Hasan D. with whom she was in a relationship because she wanted to break up with him.

Semiha Peker, 33, a factory worker and mother of one child, who lives in Manisa, was killed in the street with a firearm by Yalçın Kocataş, with whom she previously had a relationship, on the pretext that she wanted to cheat on the perpetrator. It was learned that Semiha had taken protective measures against the perpetrator.

It was revealed that Güldane Biçer, mother of 3 children, who lives in Istanbul and has been missing since 2011, was killed with a sharp object out of jealousy by Osman Bicer, whom she was married to.

Nergiz Sarıkaya, 26, mother of 3 children, who lives in Afyon, was killed with a firearm in front of her children by Ahmet Sarıkaya, whom she was married to.

Pınar Can,33, mother of 2 children, who lives in Nevşehir, was killed by Halis D. with whom she had a relationship due to jealousy. It was learned that the perpetrator was released from prison a year ago.

Gülsüm Berk, 53, and Güler Kaya, 51, who live in Istanbul, were killed by Murat Berk with a firearm. It was later announced that the perpetrator tried to kill himself with the same weapon.

It was announced that Samira Rashidian, 31, who lives in Balıkesir and was found dead with a plastic bag over her head, was killed by her boyfriend P.E. with economic motives.

What is an honour killing?

An honour killing is a murder in the name of honour. If a brother murders his sister to restore family honour, it is an honour killing. According to activists, the most common reasons for honour killings are as the victim:

Questions about honour killings

  • refuses to cooperate in an arranged marriage.

  • wants to end the relationship.

  • was the victim of rape or sexual assault.

  • was accused of having a sexual relationship outside of marriage.

Human rights activists believe that 100,000 honour killings are carried out every year, most of which are not reported to the authorities and some are even deliberately covered up by the authorities themselves, for example because the perpetrators are good friends with local policemen, officials or politicians. Violence against girls and women remains a serious problem in Pakistan, India, Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Iran, Serbia and Turkey.

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