Violence against women in Turkey

This picture is the darkest in recent years. There is more work being done in Turkey by both the state and civil society, but the whole picture is regressing despite all efforts to combat violence against women. Turkey is a transitional country and the origins of this violence has a deep background. In my opinion, the first pillar is the unbalanced migration from rural parts of the country to big cities. People force themselves to live in big cities while conserving the village culture. The clash of cultures make people more aggressive and unbalanced.

We can add to this picture the effect of religious identities, authoritarianism and feeling under pressure. All these circumstances develop an atmosphere full of rage that enables people to inflict violence on one other. It is not only violence against women but the concept of violence in general that can be observed in transitional countries like Turkey. Uneasiness has become a lifestyle and part of daily life and violence has become an ordinary tool with which to express an identity in this country.

The legal system has many problems and mistakes. In many cases, we observe men given reduced sentences after killing their partners if the men suspect them of having been unfaithful, legitimizing murder as a response to infidelity. The basic excuse for killing women can be “unjust provocation,” but since there is no one to object and disprove of this defense, the perpetrators of such crimes enjoy this mitigating circumstance. In many cases, I’ve seen the husband who killed his wife defending his actions by saying “she insulted my manhood” and receiving a shorter sentence because of the impossibility of saying it did not happened that way.

The Munevver Garipoglu, Ozgecan Aslan, Ayse Pasalı, Guldunya Toren and Semse Allak murders are some key examples of the same pattern. According to the Law to Protect Family and Prevent Violence Against Women (Law No. 6284) the state is responsible for women facing threats or violence. The state has to provide shelter to those women and children facing danger, allocate temporary protection and procure temporary financial assistance and daycare for their children.

Furthermore, the Council of Europe (CoE) convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence, or simply the İstanbul Convention, that was opened for signatures on 2011 in İstanbul and which most European countries are now signatories of, aims to prevent violence, protect victims and end the impunity of perpetrators. As one of the pioneers of this convention, Turkey has greater responsibility to show that positive results can be taken if a serious state policy is enacted. Indeed, these efforts are still insufficient and we need another push on this issue. However it is obvious that more authoritarianism will not help human rights defenders in their work, as can be seen in Turkey today.


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ألباكيركي، نيو مكسيكو، 18 تشرين الأول/أكتوبر، 2017 / بي آر نيوزواير / — أهلا بكم