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Pop star Sila’s complaint compels Turkey to talk about violence against women

According to associations, the number of women killed or abused by their relatives is increasing in Turkey.

By filing a complaint in late October against the famous actor Ahmet Kural, her partner, whom she accuses of having abused her, the pop star Sila Gencoglu, highlights the violence against women in Turkey.

Ahmet Kural’s trial opened in Istanbul on Thursday (March 7th) on the eve of International Women’s Day, marked by a march into several Turkish cities. Kural, who denies the charges, faces five years in prison if convicted.

In a complaint, the singer Sila Gencoglu, known as the “Sila” scene, drew attention to a scourge often overlooked in a patriarchal society, according to her lawyer Rezan Epozdemir. “It is very significant that a woman who was a victim of violence has decided of his own volition to bring the case to trial and put his ordeal in the heart of the debate,” says M e  Epözdemir.

Explosion of the number of cases

According to associations, the number of women killed or physically or sexually abused by their spouses or relatives is increasing in Turkey. In 2018, 440 women were killed for reasons related to their gender, against 210 in 2012, according to the non-governmental organization We will end feminicide.

Süleyman Soylu, the Turkish Ministry of the Interior, said in November that 133,809 women had been victims of violence in 2017 and more than 96,000 in the first ten months of 2018.

The complaint filed by Sila encouraged more women victims of male violence to contact an emergency hotline set up in 2017 by the Federation of Women’s Associations of Turkey (TKDF), according to the official of the organization, Canan Güllü.

Turkey was the first country to ratify the Council of Europe Convention on Preventing and Combating Violence against Women, adopted in 2011 in Istanbul. The convention has made progress on women’s rights in Turkey, but there is still a long way to go, says professor Feride Acar of Middle East Technical University (METU), who helped draft the text.

“Betrayal of humanity”

The Turkish government claims to take violence against women seriously, and the Islamic-conservative president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, described this in 2016 as a “betrayal of humanity” .

But human rights activists are worried that the guilty parties will benefit from reduced sentences, including “for good behavior” in detention or during their appearances in court.

They are also offended that the reputation of some victims is soiled by the perpetrators of violence or their lawyers in an attempt to undermine the gravity of the crime. For example, the lawyers for two men accused of sexually assaulting and murdering a student in Ankara in May 2018 provoked outrage by hinting at the opening of the trial last month that the victim “was not a virgin. » . The student Sule This, was found dead at the foot of a building after falling 20 th floor.

Sila’s lawyer complains that some media have tried to discredit his client’s version. But he remains optimistic. “I hope that the truth will come to light after the trial and that justice will be done. “

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