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Most domestic violence suspects go unprosecuted in Turkey, report reveals

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Turkish prosecutors have filed criminal cases against only 4,910 out of a total of 25,841 domestic violence suspects in Turkey in the last eight years, according to a report drafted by an opposition deputy.

“Every single verdict of non-prosecution signed by Turkish prosecutors paves the way for more cases of domestic violence in the country,” Gamze Akkuş İlgezdi, an İstanbul deputy from the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), said while sharing statistics from a report she drafted to mark November 25, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women.

The report, based on official data from the Justice Ministry, showed that although victims filed criminal complaints against 25,841 men for perpetrating violence on women in the last eight years, complaints against 73 percent of those suspects resulted in decisions of non-prosecution, with prosecutors filing criminal charges against only 4,910 of the suspects.

The prosecutors released 18,551 domestic violence suspects in Turkey between 2012 and 2020, the report said, which amounts to freedom from punishment for seven out of every 10 perpetrators of violence targeting women in the country.

According to the report, the number of complaints against domestic violence suspects that ended with a decision of non-prosecution increased from 47 percent in 2012 to 82 percent in 2019.

The report also revealed that 1.6 million women in Turkey sought a restraining order, although they did not file criminal complaints against the offenders in the last eight years. The figures show that an average of 3,867 women were subjected to violence every week during the same period.

Between January 1 and November 21, 253 women were killed in Turkey and 715 others were injured at the hands of men, the Bianet news website revealed in a Tuesday report based on news reports in the Turkish media.

Most of these women were victims of domestic violence, with 165 killed by their husbands, ex-partners or ex-husbands and 50 murdered by family members such as a brother, father, son-in-law or son.

Turkey’s women’s rights associations have been trying for years to raise awareness about the increase in cases of domestic violence in the last decade, regarded by many to be linked to the policies and rhetoric of the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government, which has its roots in political Islam.

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