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17 women killed by men, 12 more died suspiciously in Turkey in April

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Seventeen women were murdered by men in Turkey in April and 12 more died under suspicious circumstances, while there were attempts to kill five others, local media reported on Wednesday, citing a violence tally kept by the Jin News website.

“Women are being killed by men in Turkey every day although the government, which removed combatting violence against women from its agenda by pulling the country out of the İstanbul Convention in addition to its policy of impunity for men, suggests that there has been a decrease in femicides,” the report said.

The Council of Europe Convention on Preventing and Combating Violence against Women and Domestic Violence, better known as the Istanbul Convention, is an international accord designed to protect women’s rights and prevent domestic violence in societies and was signed by member countries of the Council of Europe in 2011.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan sparked outrage in Turkey and the international community after he issued a decree on March 20 that pulled the country out of the landmark treaty. The country is expected to officially withdraw from the convention on July 1, according to a presidential decree published in the Official Gazette in late April.

According to Turkish media reports, eight of the 17 femicides were committed with a knife, while seven of the women were killed with a gun. In nine of the incidents, the murderer is either a current or former husband of the woman.

The violence tally also showed that three children, aged 3, 13 and 14, were killed in Turkey in April, while five child abuse cases were reported in Manisa, Uşak, Kahramanmaraş, Mardin and Tekirdağ provinces. A 17-year-old was also found dead under suspicious circumstances, the reports said.

The tally further included incidents where suspects in femicides, attempted murders and sexual abuses went unpunished due to the impunity policy of the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government, local media reports said.

A man identified only by the initials A.G., who tried to kill his wife in the Kepez district of the southern Antalya province, was slapped with a fine and released from detention in April, reportedly in order to prevent overcrowding in Turkey’s prisons during the pandemic.

A court in southern Kilis province last month acquitted Mehmet Arzık, who was accused of sexually abusing a child for two years, by dropping the case against him, reportedly because the complaint against Arzık was filed some six months after the abuse.

In İstanbul Mert Akın, who tortured his wife Eda Akın and attempted to kill her in October 2020, was acquitted of six charges and released pending trial in April.

İbrahim Tekin, who was accused of torturing his wife Filiz Tekin to death, was acquitted due to a lack of evidence of violence despite medical reports, local media also said.

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 the rhetoric of the ruling AKP, which has its roots in political Islam, while Erdoğan has long been accused by critics of seeking to erode the country’s secular principles and limit the civil liberties of women.

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