Français | English
Today all of Turkey woke up in shock and anger. Özgecan Aslan, a twenty-year old student took a minibus after classes to go home in Mersin. The driver raped her and called two of his buddies to assist him.
The young woman was stabbed, her hands cut off (to avoid DNA identification for she had scratched them while trying to defend herself). Her body was then burned and thrown into a lake. The perpetrators were arrested, but what will happen now? How many more women will fall victim to the ultra-patriarchal system defended by the AKP in Turkey?
It must be said again : after their seven years in power, feminicides have increased by 1400%. Finding figures concerning violence against women is extremely difficult, however 80% of the victims think they can do nothing against the violence to which they are subjected, according to a study done in 1995 and 58 % of women are victims of abuse not only by the husbands, fiancés, boyfriends, brothers, but also my members of their companion’s family, including the feminine members, according to a study done in 2002 by the Physicians’s Bureau of Ankara.
These figures reflect the “normality” of these violent incidents in the mind of women and those around them, and this normality is maintained by those in power. One notes declarations by President Erdoğan in which he claims that women “naturally cannot be equal to men” and that “Islam has defined women’s place : motherhood.”
The President who was Prime Minister from 2003 until August 2014, has made several statements feminists have considered provocative (and with good reason). In 2012, he had violently taken position against abortion, comparing it to “a murder”. He has also demanded that women have three children, in order to boost Turkey’s birthrate.
In such a context, defending women against obscurantism is difficult, when dealing with leaders encouraging society to maintain a patriarcal model that blames the victims. One can quote the declarations of the Deputy Prime Minister stating that “a woman must maintain moral rectitude and not laugh out loud in public” and “The man must be moral, the woman also, she must know what is decent and what isn’t.”
Unfortunately, the consequences of this position are to blame the victims and to consider women as objects wrongfully stimulating men’s desires and not as full human beings. In their eyes, women are objects to be exposed or hidden as deemed convenient.
According to a survey done by the Bianet press agency, in October 2014 alone, men killed 28 women and adolescents in 16 Turkish provinces (almost one woman every day). 21% of the women were killed due to divorce. Over the entire year of 2014, the same survey totals the murder of 325 women, 88 rapes, 499 physical assaults and 75 victims of sexual harassment.
We will fight for as long as it takes for women to earn the consideration they deserve and for the end of sexist violence.
A demonstration is planned for 16h in Kadıköy organized by the Istanbul feminist collective.
Protests continue following Özgecan’s burial…
Update on September 29 2017
The Court of Appeal had annulled the 24 year jail sentence imposed on Özgecan’s murderer Fatih Gökçe for “lack of evidence”. On September 29, the Tribunal sentenced the murderer to 22 years and 6 months in jail.