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Old 07-17-2007, 06:03 PM   #1
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in the name of murder

BİA (Istanbul) - The frequency with which so-called honour-killings appear in the news mean that there is a danger of "normalising" violence towards women.

Last week a young woman was killed by her father in Urfa (south-east of Turkey), and again, women's organisations buried her body on a cemetery for those without families.

Yasemin was one and a half months pregnant when her father took her to an empty piece of land and killed her with a single bullet. The reason: Yasemin K. does not marry the man her family wants and runs away with her boyfriend. When she returns to her family, she is not forgiven. Indeed, considered with a twisted logic, she has committed two mistakes: she has chosen another husband, and then she has left him.

Killing your daughter

Father Ibrahim C. says he feels no regret. "A girl only leaves the house she has gone to [in marriage] in her coffin", referring to the wide-spread conviction that young women have no right to return to their parents' home.

"I have saved my honour by killing Yasemin", says the father. So honour is purified by a murder.

According to the new laws, Ibrahim C will probably receive a life sentence. Meanwhile, six other members of the family have been released, although they were probably implicated in the organisation of the murder. When a Pakistani woman was killed by her family in Denmark, the whole family was sentenced.

No mercy for Birgül

A recent article in the daily "Radikal" newspaper described the case of Birgül, a young woman from Agri, in the east of Turkey. In month-long disputes, the murder of Birgül became a certainty. First her family demanded of her husband that he kill her. He said, "Give me money or kill her yourself". When they did not, he finally did kill her, on the edge of a motorway.

Birgül's husband might seem unwilling to commit the murder, but he still surrenders to the system. As for the reason for the murder: Birgül and her husband could not have children, and for years he had been pressurised by his family to take a second wife. The marriage suffered and he began beating Birgül. She had run away to her parents many times but was sent back every time....

"Reasons" for murders

There are so many "reasons" for "honour killings": wanting to marry someone the family does not like, running away with a man, gossip spread about a young woman, writing a mobile phone message to a man...these reasons are listed by men with a chilling calmness.

According to the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), every year five thousand women are murdered in the name of "honour". This of course does not include all the murders that are covered up, many of them as suicides.

"Custom" normalises the inhuman

Calling these murders "custom murders" (as they are in Turkish) or "honour killings" normalises these inhuman murders.

Saying that "honour killings" are part of a tribal order and Kurdish culture means disinformation and resignation.

According to a 2005 report of Ka-Mer, an association which has saved dozens of women from murder, the real reason for these killings is to ensure women's compliance and submission. "Thus, to look for an issue of virginity or a "forbidden relation" behind every murder is to ignore the real reasons." (ZA/EÜ/AG)
Have you visited We are the Turks lately?


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Old 07-17-2007, 08:32 PM   #2
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Based on the few articles with data I was able to find, the average annual number of these honor killings in Turkey ranges between 30 and 70. I wish I could say that is shocking, but our own average annual rate of fatal "intimate partner violence" against women is almost four times even the higher of those two figures (adjusted for population size). Of course it's not the same thing, but...

I wonder to what extent "honor killings" have declined in Turkey over the past few decades (assuming they have), and what strategies have been tried to address the problem?
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Old 07-17-2007, 08:41 PM   #3
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I've read a little about this subject and I can't believe it goes on. I don't care if it's part of their culture, murder is wrong in ANY circumstances. I've read about women murdered because they dared to have pre-marital sex, the women were raped..

Education could be the answer but how do you change something that has been done for centuries?

We need to be aware of these things and to let people know that it's wrong.
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Old 07-17-2007, 09:14 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally posted by yolland
Based on the few articles with data I was able to find, the average annual number of these honor killings in Turkey ranges between 30 and 70. I wish I could say that is shocking, but our own average annual rate of fatal "intimate partner violence" against women is almost four times even the higher of those two figures (adjusted for population size). Of course it's not the same thing, but...

I wonder to what extent "honor killings" have declined in Turkey over the past few decades (assuming they have), and what strategies have been tried to address the problem?
It's funny how the perceptions of a society on the whole shape our reactions and views on this. We all get stuck on these being honour killings when they're homicides the same as ours 'over here'. They put forward a flimsy reason which we give no amount of credence or respect to, due to it grossly outweighing the outcome being murder, and yet nearly 4 times the numbers are committed on home soil and the outrage is kept to shock at each individual story as opposed to reaction to some kind of flaw in the society's customs. We swap drugs or history of violence as the trigger. Their 'honour' is no worse than our half arsed reasons for killing each other. So yeah, the fear it will become 'normal' is real.
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Old 07-17-2007, 09:26 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally posted by yolland
Based on the few articles with data I was able to find, the average annual number of these honor killings in Turkey ranges between 30 and 70. I wish I could say that is shocking, but our own average annual rate of fatal "intimate partner violence" against women is almost four times even the higher of those two figures (adjusted for population size). Of course it's not the same thing, but...
That's a good point, yolland, but to be really accurate you'd have to look at their rate of murders by way of domestic violence and add those to the honour killings and only then compare to the domestic rate. It would be interesting to see.
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Old 07-17-2007, 09:55 PM   #6
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Yeah, I know, and I did (briefly) attempt to find separate information on domestic violence in Turkey--and there was plenty, but nothing I was finding gave me fatality rates, which is the stat I'd need for comparison. Although, I did notice a few articles I was looking at appeared to be conflating the two categories, and talking about 'honor killings' as if they were a form of domestic violence. I don't have any comparative criminology background, and have no idea which reporting categories Turkey breaks homicide (or domestic violence) stats down into. Even comparing various 'Western' countries for stats like this is often made incredibly frustrating by differences in how data is categorized. Basically I was just throwing the point out there and hoping maybe all_i_want could clarify or expand on it, lol.
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Old 07-17-2007, 10:05 PM   #7
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I'd also be interested to see what the "Turkish" rates of "honor killings" are versus the "Kurdish" rates.

I imagine that this article, written for a Turkish audience, is meant to "dehumanize" the hated Kurdish minority ("south-east" early in the article gives it away, and they overtly mention "Kurdish" by the end of the article), much as the U.S. looks for excuses to "dehumanize" Mexicans.

Of course, much like the U.S.' relationship with Mexico, Turkey's relationship with the Kurds is complex, which is most certainly made far more difficult due to PKK terrorism.

My point? I find the unmentioned subtext and understood audience assumptions in media to often be quite interesting. This article, when read by foreigners, probably makes people think, if only for a moment, that Turkey is a backwards nation, whereas a Turk would read this article and think, if only for a moment, how thankful they are to not be Kurdish. And I imagine that kind of different reaction is much like how Americans view a show like "Jerry Springer" versus how the rest of the world views it.
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