Protests in Turkey over brutal murder of young woman

Women hit the streets and take to social media after ex-partner reportedly confesses to killing Pinar Gultekin, 27.

Demonstrators, wearing protective face masks, hold placards and portraits of women, during a protest called by KCDP (We Will Stop Femicides Platform - Kadin Cinayetlerini Durduracagiz Platformu) and W
Demonstrators hold placards and portraits of women killed in recent years during a protest in Istanbul [Yasin Akgul/AFP]

The brutal murder of yet another Turkish woman has triggered widespread outrage in the country, with many taking to the streets and social media to express their anger.

University student Pinar Gultekin, 27, was killed in the Aegean province of Mugla. She was reported missing last week and was found dead in the woods on Tuesday.

According to autopsy results, Gultekin was strangled and her body placed in a barrel, which was then burned and had concrete poured on it.

Her former partner Cemal Metin Avci, a bar manager in the resort town of Akyaka, has been arrested for the murder. Police said he confessed to the killing during questioning, according to local media.

On Tuesday, several groups protested across Turkish cities, including the largest city of Istanbul, against the rising violence inflicted upon women in the country.

More protests are expected as anger over the killing continues on social media, with users calling for further action by the authorities.

Femicides have doubled since 2012

According to We Will Stop Femicides Platform, a rights group that monitors violence against women, at least 474 women were murdered in 2019, most of them by current or former partners, family members, or unrelated males who wanted a relationship with them.

Turkey was the first country to ratify a 2011 Council of Europe accord, named the Istanbul Convention, on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence. Turkey also adopted a law in 2012 to prevent violence against women.

However, the number of murdered women has more than doubled since then, with rights groups blaming the trend on the government’s failure to implement the convention and laws.

A conservative section within Turkish media and social groups has been lobbying for Ankara to withdraw from the Istanbul Convention, arguing it has a negative influence on Turkish family values.

Demonstrators wearing protective face masks, hold portraits of women and placards reading 'we are not quiet', during a protest called by KCDP (We Will Stop Femicides Platform - Kadin Cinayetlerini Dur
Demonstrators protest for a better implementation of the Istanbul Convention in Istanbul on July 19 [AFP]

Speaking at an Istanbul rally calling for an end to violence against women, Fidan Ataselim, general secretary of We Will Stop Femicides Platform, said their protests will continue until the authorities hear their voices.

“We are carrying banners for a woman we do not know. It is enough now. We want to live,” she said on Tuesday, demanding that the government implement the Istanbul Convention better.

“The solution is clear. Open and read the Istanbul Convention,” added Ataselim.

“The sadness of our daughter Pinar Gultekin, who was murdered in Mugla, has pierced through our hearts. Another life has been lost,” Zehra Zumrut Selcuk, Turkey’s minister of family, labour and social services, said in a tweet.

She added the government would “intervene in the case to follow the judicial process so that the murderer will get the hardest possible sentence”.

Anger on social media

Meanwhile, social media users continued to voice their anger over the murder, using the hashtag #pinargultekin.

Gozde Aydin tweeted: “We want justice for all the girls, daughters, sisters, mothers that are being brutally murdered every single day in Turkey!!”

Another user Rengul Selma said the number of women murdered in Turkey was far more than reported.

“The latest femicide once again proves how hard it is to live in Turkey as a woman. How many more femicides do we need to hear of?” she tweeted.

Twitter user Emi Kayserilioglu called on the Turkish men to introspect over the rising murders.

“What’s with men in Turkey and their drive for murdering woman? Are they rendered so powerless, inept and unnecessary that killing is the only way of restoring that minuscule sense of manhood?” she asked.

Source: Al Jazeera