The gruesome murder of Pınar Gültekin, a 27-year old university student who was choked to death by a man reported to have been her ex-boyfriend in the Aegean province of Muğla, has triggered nationwide mourning for the young woman and groundswell of outrage against femicides in the country, with fury on social media as women and activists call for an end to the perennial issue.
After being killed by Cemal Metin Avcı, who runs a bar in the resort town of Akyaka, Gültekin’s body was placed in a barrel, which was then burned and poured concrete on, in a forest near Yerkesik village.
She had been missing since July 16 and her family had sought help on social media and with relevant authorities after failing to establish communication with her.
The murderer, who confessed to the crime during his interrogation at the gendarmerie station, was arrested on charge of “killing with monstrous feelings” late July 21.
The murder of the woman sparked nationwide outrage when the details of the case appeared in the media, while forcing a renewed reckoning in a country that has long been wrestling with violence against women and mounting femicides in Turkey, where more than 118 women have been killed so far in 2020, according to the We Will Stop Femicides Platform (Kadın Cinayetlerini Durduracağız Platformu).
Seething anger over her murder led thousands of women to spill into the streets in Istanbul, Ankara, İzmir and Antalya on July 21 to protest femicides and demand the full implementation of the Istanbul Convention, following calls made by women’s rights groups on social media.
The Council of Europe convention had led to the passing of a bill, also known as Article 6284, in 2014, which established legal mechanisms to combat gender-based violence and discrimination. Turkey was the first country to sign and ratify the treaty.
The protests in Istanbul, Ankara and Antalya went on without any problems, but police in the Aegean province of İzmir used force to break up the peaceful protest of several hundred women.
Meanwhile, politicians, academics, NGO representatives and celebrities also reacted to the brutal murder.
“The sorrow of our daughter Pınar Gültekin has pierced through our hearts,” said Turkey’s Family, Labor and Social Services Minister Zehra Zümrüt Selçuk, adding that the ministry would intervene in the case and closely follow the ensuing judicial process so that the murderer gets the heaviest sentence.
While main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu said violence against women is increasing in Turkey, the party’s Istanbul provincial head, Canan Kaftancıoğlu, convoyed her condolences to the Gültekin family in a phone call. Kaftancıoğlu tweeted in support of the Istanbul Convention, which has recently been a topic of debate after a senior ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) official said the government was mulling withdrawing from the treaty.
The Turkish Industrialists and Businessmen Association (TÜSİAD) underlined that the implementation of the Istanbul Convention is vital and stressed on the necessity to have a “without any buts” approach to violence against women in its message.
“When will this system, which does not punish murderers and which stands by these monsters for unbearable reasons that will ease their punishment, change?” world-famous Turkish popstar Tarkan asked, in an apparent fury over good conduct abatement given to many male preparators of violence against women and femicides when they appear in court well-dressed.
Social media users shared the message “enough” accompanied by a photo of Gültekin, calling for a legal change against violence against women.
Hurriyet Daily News