Femicide in Turkey: 36 women murdered in July

In July, at least 36 women were victims of femicide in Turkey. 92 percent of the women were murdered by violent husbands, partners, fathers or sons. Eleven more women were found dead in suspicious circumstances.

The platform ‘We Will Stop Femicide’ (Kadın Cinayetlerini Durduracağız, KCDP) has presented its report for July. In it, the organisation documents a total of 36 murders of women in Turkey committed within a month. Eleven more women were found dead in a suspicious manner.

According to the balance of all the murders recorded by the police and published in the media, in 18 cases it could not be established why the women were killed.

92 percent of the victims were killed by violent husbands, friends, former partners or male relatives, five of them “because of financial reasons”, thirteen others because they wanted to divorce or separate, rejected men or because they wanted to decide about their own lives.

It was not possible to ascertain whether they had previously obtained a protection order from the security authorities, such as a ban on approach or contact, for example.

Only in eight percent of the cases could it definitely be ruled out that the women were able to make use of the Protection Against Violence Act.

“The fact that the background could not be determined in 18 cases of femicide is a consequence of the concealment of violence against women and femicide. As long as it is not uncovered why and by whom women are murdered, perpetrators are not prosecuted and there are no deterrent penalties, prevention measures are not implemented, the extent of violence against women will continue to grow,” the Platform said.  

Who were the perpetrators?

An overview of the balance sheet of the Istanbul-based women’s rights organisation shows the perpetrators responsible for the murders of women in July. According to the report, eleven women were killed by their husbands, another five by their partners. In another five cases, male acquaintances were the perpetrators, six women were killed by ex-boyfriends. Six women were killed by their fathers, sons or other male relatives. The murder weapons used were mainly firearms. 24 women were shot, five stabbed, three strangled, one beaten to death and another pushed out of a building. Fifty percent of the women were murdered in their own homes, another 17 percent on the street.

KCDP: Implement Istanbul Convention!

In its report, the KCDP platform emphasises that those who feel “disturbed” by gender equality claim that the Istanbul Convention would endanger or destroy traditional family structures and family cohesion. Despite the shocking rate of femicide, the AKP government has been debating for some time whether to withdraw from the Convention, which aims to curb violence against women, especially domestic violence, and to strengthen gender equality. Conservative circles in Turkey even attribute the increase of femicide in the country to the Istanbul Convention, although 2011 – the year in which the law on the Council of Europe Convention was drafted – has one of the lowest femicide rates in Turkey, KCDP criticises. It is only because regulations such as Law No. 6284, which according to the AKP is supposed to act as a “protective cloak for women”, are not or hardly implemented, that male violence in Turkey is on the rise again.