Turkey seeks ways to tackle violence against women 


Feb.21, Turkey: Turkish authorities are looking for more effective ways to prevent domestic violence and rape cases. According to Minister of Family and Social Policies Aysenur İslam, better tracking of perpetrators and courts handing down more strict sentences are keys to curbing the violence.

The prevalence of domestic violence, physical and sexual violence targeting women despite measures raises concerns in Turkey. Authorities seek to curb the disturbing trends. The government is looking into ways to implement more effective judicial measures and ways to raise awareness to the issue among the public.

Public reaction to the violence was mostly confined to protests by women’s non-governmental organizations until last week.

The murder of Özgecan Aslan, 20, in fact changed as nationwide protests following the incident proved. Aslan was stabbed, had her hands cut off and burned, allegedly when she resisted a rape attempt in the southern Turkish city of Mersin. Three men, a minibus driver who confessed to killing the university student, his friend and his father who helped the man to dispose the body, were arrested.

İslam said that Turkey already has laws in place for severe punishment of perpetrators of such crimes but points to the courts in executing the laws. Critics complain that culprits get away with lenient sentences due to the “good conduct” clause that enables a reduction in prison terms for defendants with no record of past conviction and “respectful.”

Speaking to Anadolu Agency  in an exclusive interview, İslam said that the government has no say on judiciary decisions based on separation of powers principle. “I personally wish judges not to issue lighter prison sentences in these cases and never act in favor of defendants,” İslam said.

The monitoring system may give a sigh of relief to 125 women who had to change their identity to escape their violent spouses last year.

According to figures by Turkish National Police, over 118,000 women filed a complaint to police last year over domestic violence. This figure was slightly over 82,000 in 2013. Police statistics also show 38 women are assigned permanent security detail for fear of attacks by their spouses.

The Oslo Times

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