Bianet continues keeping the tally on developments pertaining to the struggle on issues of violence, sexual harassment, rape and murder against women, the penalties incurred on the offenders and favorable and unfavorable court verdicts.
Academics meet on the War, Memory and Gender Panel
Academics from various countries working on gender issues met in the War, Memory and Gender Conference held in Istanbul on May 22-23 through a joint initiative by Sabancı University's Gender and Women's Studies Forum and the Central European University.
Cross-Border Feminist Meetings in Istanbul
Feminists from India, Tunisia, Lebanon, Israel, Palestine, Iraq, Iraqi Kurdistan, Libya, Cyprus, Armenia and Turkey discussed peaceful feminist policies in the Cross-Border Feminist Meetings organized by Amargi.
Redhack hacks Mothers' Day
Redhack hacked the official website of the Family and Social Policies Ministry on Mothers' Day. Redhack underlined the issue of violence toward women in its message.
*Who said what?
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan: Abortion is murder
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said he opposed ceaserean section and that abortion amounts to murder during a speech he delivered during the concluding session of the 2012 International Parliamentarians Conference regarding the implementation of the International Population and Development Conference Action Plan in Istanbul.
Prime Minister Erdoğan also spoke about abortion the next day in the Third Regular Congress of his ruling Justice and Development Party's (AKP) Women's Branches and said "Every abortion is an Uludere," in reference to the botched air strike that killed 34 civilians in the southeastern town of Uludere" and went further to claim that abortion was an "insidious plan to wipe the nation off the world stage."
Head of Human Rights Commission: "Abortion must be punished"
"Abortion constitutes a crime against humanity. It amounts to usurping the unborn infant's right to life. Attacks against the material and non-material being of an infant that keeps living in the mother's womb must be punished," said Ayhan Sefer Üstün, the head of Parliament's Human Rights Commission and the AKP's deputy from the northwestern province of Sakarya.
Health Minister: "The state would look after children born out of rape"
Health Minister Recep Akdağ said there was "an aspect of abortion regarding ethics."
"Politics will decide by keeping in mind both science and the ethical dimension. Sometimes they say such things as 'What happens if something bad happens to the mother.' The state would look after such an infant if need be," Minister Akdağ also said.
Devlet Bahçeli: "The Law on the Prevention of Violence Toward Women is not deterrant"
"Factors that feed social violence and developments that trigger the milieu of conflict and turmoil have reached a staggering level. Disputes and disunity in schools, hospitals, at home and everywhere are usurping our peace," said Devlet Bahçeli, the head of the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP.)
"Not a single day passes by without a woman falling prey to an act of murder or savage attacks. I say with deep sorrow that ravenous, primitive and ugly faces brutally spill the blood of our doctors and teachers. It is apparent that the law on the protection of the family and the prevention of violence toward women is neither deterrant nor able to forestall merciless [acts.] I condemn these disgraceful and utterly inhumane attacks," Bahçeli said.
Head of Muğla Bar Association calls women "civilian spiders"
Mustafa İlker Gürkan, the head of the Bar Association in the southwestern province of Muğla, called the protests staged against him by women's organizations "civilian spider activities." The women's organizations were reacting to his role as the defendant lawyer in a mass rape case in Muğla's Fethiye district.
Jennifer Lopez: Violence toward women exists everywhere
Jeniffer Lopez said violence toward women was not unique to Turkey and that it existed in all parts of the world during an interview she gave to Saba Tümer.
Six non-governmental organizations (NGOs) came together under the project "Certainly Mom"
Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) met in Ankara for the third meeting of the "Certainly Mom" Project initiated by the European Union's (EU) Grundtving Learning Partnership in which the Keçiören District Municipality's Women's Solidarity Center is a member. Representatives from NGOs in Italy, Belgium, Poland, Austria, Spain and Greece participated in the event and visited the Keçiören Municipality to examine their work relating to women.
Nilüfer Women's Shelter opens
The Nilüfer Municipality's Women's Shelter opened in the nortwestern province of Bursa. Women can stay for up to three months and receive support from three sociologists and two psychologists throughout their stay in the shelter that was established through the support of the Lions Club in the district of Nilüfer. Women can also stay for longer than the prescribed three months under certain conditions. The shelter takes applications from 08:00 to 17:00.
100,000 signatures against violence in Kocaeli
A campaign against violence toward women succeeded in collecting 100,000 signature in the northwestern province of Kocaeli. The AKP's Kocaeli Women's Branches, the Ministry of Family and Social Policies and Parliament's Equal Opportunity for Women and Men Commission initiated the project across Turkey.
Seminary on sexual crimes against tourists in Antalya
Scandinavian countries organized a consulate seminary in the southern province of Antalya. The seminary instructed tour guides on what to do in cases of sexual crimes against tourists.
Training for Women in Nevşehir
The municipality's Women's Studies and Training Center in the central province of Nevşehir launched two courses for women at a hall owned by the municipality in the Cevher Duayev Neighborhood.
Some 24 women are currently attending the courses on Preparing Dress Patterns and Dowry Products.
Local Müfti's Office to reach out to 50,000 families to prevent domestic violence and divorce
The Müfti's Office in the district of Fethiye in the southwestern province of Muğla initiated a new project to combat the rapid increase in cases of domestic violence and divorce. The Müfti's Office is set to reach out to 50,000 families in Fethiye on the "Family Week" between May 6 and 12. Officials from the office are going to distribute 50,000 booklets from door to door within the scope of the project.
Letter boxes at PTT offices for female victims of violence
Turkey's postal service PTT is going to place letter boxes in its offices for women who were subjected to violence to write their experiences as part of a joint program for Gender Equality. The letters will then be sent to Parliament's Equal Opportunity for Women and Men Commission.
Prosecutors to receive instructions on violence toward women
Engin Durnagöl, the Deputy General Secretary of the Supreme Board of Judges and Prosecutors (HSYK) said they were providing training sessions, while he was speaking at the Culture Center during a conference organized by Atatürk University's Law Department in the northeastern province of Erzurum.
"We are organizing vocational training sessions for prosecutors [involved in cases pertaining to] violence toward women. The Justice Academy is holding a symposium on this issue in Istanbul. We are then providing training session for judges and prosecutors who are conducting the investigations," he said.
*Regulations, Parliamentary questions, legislation
Motion for violence toward women
Family and Social Policies Minister Fatma Şahin issed a notice for administrative chiefs and law enforcement officials to provide reports to the ministry on the steps they took after receiving complaints of violence toward women every day.
No more arrests for sexual harassment
Parliament's Justice sub-commission ratified a decision while meeting over the Third Judicial Reform Package. Accordingly, authorities are to issue no more orders for arrest for crimes the upper limit of whose penalties do not exceed two years in prison, such as sexual harassment. The decision also imposes a new condition to issue an order of arrest by requiring the provision of a "concrete fact that demonstrates a strong probability of crime."
Proposal to allow deputies wearing headscarves in Parliament
The "Constitution with Respect to Gender" sub-commission formed underneath Parliament's Equal Opportunity for Women and Men commission prepared a draft report stating that the wearing of religious symbols by women still represented a significant obstacle before women's right to be elected. The ban on the election of women wearing headscarves constitutes an obstacle before equality, the report said.
Flying Broom Women's Film Festival
The 15th Flying Broom International Women's Film Festival between May 10-17 ended with an award ceremony. 900 directors participated in the festival until this day with 1300 short and feature-length films, documentaries and animations.
Istanbul Theater Festival features "Seven"
Seven famous actresses and journalists from Turkey performed in a reading theater that relates the lives and struggles of "Seven" female activists from different countries. They staged the performance at the Kenter Theater as part of the 18th Istanbul Theater Festival.
Folk Songs for Women
Züleyha dedicated her new album "Benden" ("From Me") to women under pressure, subjected to violence and tyrannized, or in short, to all women in pain. Women can only raise their voices while working in the field or washing dishes, according to the singer. And in folk songs, of course...
An attempt to think outside the box: Trans Life
Aysun Öner's photography project entitled "Trans Life" appeared as a personal exhibition at the 15th Flying Broom International Women's Film Festival this year. Öner worked for two years on "Trans Life" where she projects a world in which transvestites and transexuals can easily co-exist with the rest of society and in the workplace, just like heterosexuals.
Crime and Punishment Film Festival theme: Violence toward women
This year's theme for the International Crime and Punishment Film Festival jointly organized by Istanbul University's Law Department and the Başakşehir Municipality was "Violence and Discrimination Toward Women."
The festival is set to take place in Istanbul between Sept. 27 and Oct. 4, 2012 and aims to examine the relationship between justice and cinema through a comprehensive cultural event.
The Second Court for Serious Crimes in the southern province of Adana released K.A., 23, and M.A., 21, while it sentenced N.C., 31, to a total of 14 years for sexual assault and forcing into prostitution after they were put on trial for raping 23 year old baby sitter F.Ç. two years ago.
*Law enforcement officials caught D.K., 23, N.C., 31, A.A., 25 and C.A., 22, after they raped A.P., 23, in the southern province of Adana. The court released D.K., but the prosecution requested 28 years in prison for the remaining three suspects.
*An Adana court released G.K. after she killed her husband who beat her on the grounds she had looked at a naked man in a film. The prosecution had requested 24 years behind bars for G.K., but the court ruled that her act was within the limits of self-defense.
*The Second Court for Serious Crimes in the southern province of Alanya sentenced H.Y. to 15 years in prison on the charge of "sexually abusing a minor," after he raped H.K., 12. He was then sent off to the Alanya L-Type Closed and Open Penal Institution.
*The Second Court for Serious Crimes in Alanya sentenced R.C., 17 to a total of 12 years and 11 months in prison on the charges of "depriving someone of their freedom," "sexual assault" and "qualified robbery," after he followed E.C., 29, a businesswoman, while she was on her way back from work, threatened her with a broken glass bottle, sexually assaulted and robbed her.
*The Sixth Court for Serious Crimes in Ankara acquitted folk singer İzzet Yıldızhan after he was charged with "attempted sexual assault" and "intentional injury."
"The First Court for Serious Crimes in the southern province of Antalya arrest Ş.A., who had earlier been released pending trial, on the charges of "chain sexual assaults and depriving someone of their freedom." Ş.A. allegedly raped and impregnated N.T., 20.
*An Antalya court acquitted F.S.G., who was charged with sexually harassing 16 year old A.Ş. and getting her to steal valuables from her father's safe. The court acquitted F.S.G. after he presented his conversations with her on Facebook. Father M.F.Ş. had filed the complaint against him.
*B.K. filed a complaint against İ.S. who followed her while she was on her way back home and handed her a piece of paper telling her to call his number in the Black Sea province of Bartın. The court ruled to acquit İ.S. in the ensuing suit on the grounds he had not acted with the intention to sexually harass her. The Supreme Court of Appeals later overturned the verdict, however, and decided to put İ.S. on trial on the grounds that İ.S. was not acquianted with B.K. and cited witness reports, the paper with the phone number on it and the suspect's conduct.
*S.S., 38, locked herself into her home in the northwestern province of Bursa fearing that her husband, R.S., 49, would subject her to violence. She then called the gendarmerie who found out that R.S. was under the influence of alcohol and carried a kitchen knife. S.S. also said her husband threatened to kill her, and the gendarmerie consequently issued restraining orders for R.S. for six months. The Orhangazi Criminal Court of First Instance then ratified the restraining order. The gendarmerie thus made an exemplary decision by utilizing its authority deriving from the 6287th Law on the Protection of the Family and the Prevention of Violence Toward Women.
*The Third Court for Serious Crimes in the southeastern province of Diyarbakır sentenced Y.Y, H.Y. and M.S. to aggravated life imprisonment on the charge of "premeditated and voluntary manslaughter through the motive of honor killing." The three convicts had killed Behiye Yıldız and M.Z.K. through a joint family decision on the grounds that Yıldız had cheated on her husband Y.Y. with M.Z.K.
The court also sentenced Y.Y. to one year and three months for "being in possession of an unlicensed weapon" and H.Y. to another five years in prison for "being in posession of an unlicensed long-barreled weapon and a forbidden knife."
*H.Ş. was on trial in Diyarbakır for murdering his wife C.Ş. because she had cheated on her. The prosecution demanded life imprisonment for the suspect, but the Diyarbakır First Court of Serious Crimes reduced his sentence to 24 years on the grounds that "the suspect had committed the crime in consequence of an unjustified incitement."
*A man in Istanbul killed his wife Ayşe İnce by stabbing her 17 times. The couple already had a divorce suit underway, while Ayşe İnce had earlier filed a complaint against her husband for battering and threatening her, but the prosecutor's office had released the man after taking him under custody. The Supreme Board of Judges and Prosecutors (HSYK) is set to launch a probe against the prosecutors who ordered his release.
*The Üsküdar Third Family Court in Istanbul issued restraining orders for E.Ö. for six months, the seizure of any licensed weapons he might have in possesion and the imposition of jail terms if he violates the verdict. E.Ö. was on trial for subjecting his wife S.Ö. to violence. The court also ordered a protection order for S.Ö. and her aunt N.H.
*A criminal court in the Aegean province of İzmir ruled for lack of jurisdiction in the case of Fevziye Cengiz who was detained and beaten by police officers at the Karabağlar Police Station, while Cengiz's lawyers also argued that the act in question constituted a crime of torture and thus had to be taken over by a criminal court for serious crimes. News and footages of the officers beating Cengiz had also surfaced in the media, leading to an outrcy.
The justice, however, sent the case to a Criminal Court of First Instance on the grounds the case involved threatening. The İzmri 12th Criminal Court of First Instance then sent the case to a criminal court for serious crimes, arguing that the police officers had to be tried on charges of torture.
*R.K., 37, shot dead his wife D.K., 37, and his father-in-law M.Y., 61, with a pistol in the central province of Konya. D.K. had gone back to her father's home after R.K. brought in a second wife. The Konya First Court for Serious Crimes then sentenced the suspect to life imprisonment for murdering his wife and 25 years in prison for killing his father-in-law. The suspect was also sentenced to an additional 10 months of imprisonment for being in possession of an unlicensed pistol.
*The First Court for Serious Crimes in the Black Sea province of Samsun acquitted Ç.O., 29, of charges of rape against H.A., 29, despite the prosecution's demand for 15 years of imprisonment. The court argued that H.A. had voluntarily had sexual intercourse with the suspect, that forensic reports showed no signs of battery or coercion and that she did not cry for help during the incident.
*The Samsun First Court for Serious Crimes sentenced S.Ç., 20, to 17 years three months and 15 days of imprisonment on charges of rape against L.K., 14, arguing that the incident had damaged her mental health.
*The prosecution in the Samsun First Court for Serious Crimes demanded up to 45 years of imprisonment for İ.Ç., 26, on charges of sexual abuse against his cousins İ.A., 8, M.A., 11, and K.A., 13, on the grounds that the suspect had damaged the victims' mental health. The court adjourned the trial.
*The Samsun First Court for Serious Crimes acquitted F.E., 32, of charges of sexual abuse due to lack of evidence but sentenced him to five months of imprisonment for "depriving someone of their freedom." F.E. was on trial for allegedly raping Ö.Ö., 14, but he was finally released on a bail in the amount of 3,000 Turkish Liras.
*The Samsun Second Court of Serious Crimes sentenced T.B., 34, to 10 years of imprisonment on charges of sexual assault after he harassed his sister-in-law S.D., 39, when she had come to paint his house.
*A court in Samsun dropped the charges against S.K., 35, who had raped G.S., 17, on the grounds that the litigant party's grace period for filing a complaint had expired. S.K. was consequently sentenced to 1.5 years in prison for violating private property and to pay a fine in the amount of 2,400 Turkish Liras for beating her father and sibling.
*A court in Samsun dropped the charges against O.Z. and A.A. who raped and impregnated their niece on the grounds the victim chose not to file a complaint. The two suspects were then sentenced to one year and eight months in prison for threatening the minor.
*A court in the southeastern province of Siirt sentenced F.K., 64, a deputy principal at a primary school, ten suspects arrested pending trial and nine others below the age of 15 released pending trial to a variety of sentences for sexually abusing seven female students. The Siirt Court for Serious Crimes Ö.Z. and M.A.Y. to six years 11 months and 10 days; A.K. and K.B. to four years and two months; A.T. and İ.Ö to two years seven months and seven days; M.H.Y. to six years and three months; Y.K. to 10 years and five months; H.Ç. to five years two months and 15 days; and M.A. to four years and two months of imprisonment. The case of deputy principal F.K. was adjourned for May 30, 2012 in a separate file.
*Eight suspects between the ages of 26 and 80 and M.D., 41, who faced charges for raping his two daughters and forcing them into prostitution in the central province of Tokat received varying sentences. The Zile Court for Serious Crimes sentenced father M.D. to 18 years of imprisonment; R.G. and M.B. to eight years; Ş.Y. to two years and six months; and M.K., O.E. and G.E. to two years behind bars.
*A woman whose identity was undisclosed applied to the prosecutor's office on the grounds that her husband had subjected her to violence due to jealousy. She said she had filed a divorce suit, but that her husband still continued subjecting her to violence. Her husband, a judge, then issued an order for wiretapping her phones, according to the woman.
As no direct investigation can be launched against judges and prosecutors, the prosecutor's office appealed to the HSYK which consequently examined the claims of violence and wiretapping and issued a permit for an investigation. (ÇT)