Seven women killed in Turkey spark outcry amid rising femicide rates

Seven women were killed by their partners or ex-partners across Turkey on Tuesday, according to a tally by the television station Haber Turk.

“In total, seven women were savagely killed in Izmir, Bursa, Sakarya, Erzurum, Denizli and Istanbul,” Haber Turk reported, listing the country’s major cities.

“The suspects were either their current spouses, or spouses from whom they were separated,” said the broadcaster, which listed the names of the victims with their photos on its website.

The women, aged 32 to 49, were shot or stabbed to death. At least three of the assailants took their own lives, two were arrested, and one who was wounded while being detained died.

The fate of the seventh, who had escaped prison to kill his wife, remains unclear.

In 2023, the women’s rights NGO “We Will Stop Femicide” recorded 315 murders of women, 65 percent of whom were killed in their own homes.

An additional 248 cases of “suspicious deaths”, described as “suicide” by authorities but which feminist groups attribute to a third party, noting the rise of defenestration incidents in Turkey.

The country withdrew in 2021 from the Council of Europe convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence, known as the Istanbul Convention, which requires authorities to investigate and punish violence against women.

Yet, “in 15 years, the only year when the number of femicides decreased was in 2011, the year which the Istanbul Convention was adopted,” the NGO said.

A lawsuit filed against “We Will Stop Femicide” by the Istanbul prosecutor in 2022 over alleged “immoral activities” was dropped last September.

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