253 women killed in domestic violence in Turkey in 327 days: report

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Two hundred fifty-three women in Turkey were killed and 715 others were injured at the hands of men between Jan.1 and Nov. 21, according to a report on the Bianet news website on Tuesday.

Among these women, 165 were killed by their husbands, ex-partners or ex-husbands, while at least 50 were killed by family members such as a brother, father, son-in-law or son. Sixteen of the women were killed by their neighbors or friends, one woman was killed by a mayor, one by a courier, one by a thief who broke into her house, one by a real estate agent and one by a repairman who came to her house, while the relationship between the killers and 17 women was unclear.

These findings are based on reports in the Turkish media and may not include all the cases of the domestic violence that took place in Turkey in this period.

According to Bianet’s report, 59 percent of the women, 150 of them, were killed by a gun, while 66 were killed in knife attacks.

Twenty-four women were killed by men in the first 21 days of November.

Women’s rights organizations have for years been trying to raise awareness about the increase in violence against women that has taken place in the last decade.

Many think it is linked to the policies and rhetoric of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), which has its roots in political Islam.

AKP leader and President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has long been accused by critics of seeking to erode the country’s secular principles and limit the civil liberties of women.

In the meantime, Turkish Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu attracted widespread criticism when he described the cases of domestic violence as a “shame” at a meeting on domestic violence on Monday.

The minister said 234 women have been killed since the beginning of 2020, adding: “How on earth are these women killed and subjected to violence? I am appealing to men, come to your senses. You may be physically strong, but what are you after, what are you protecting, which of your feelings are you glorifying? This is a shame.”

Soylu also said fewer women were actually killed in Turkey than the number announced by women’s organizations.  

Outraged by the minister’s remarks, which apparently were aimed at playing down the murders, the Stop the Murder of Women Platform released a statement saying that the murder of women is not a shame but a crime.

“Minister Soylu should do his job instead of shaming men. We would like to remind Soylu that he is at the helm of the ministry responsible for protecting the lives of women. Your job is not shaming men but taking action and enforcing the law [to protect women],” said the platform.

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