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Femicide in the Name of Honor in Turkey

NCJ Number
Violence Against Women Volume: 7 Issue: 7 Dated: July 2001 Pages: 821-825
Canan Arin
Date Published
July 2001
5 pages
After presenting some case studies of "honor" killings in Turkey, this article examined how the state was handling such cases.
In Turkey, "honor" killings or "customary murders" are intended to control women's sexual life in the broadest sense. Under traditional values, young women are expected to be virgins when they marry; they must be clean. This cleanliness is fragile and can be destroyed by the slightest acts, such as strolling alone in the town, asking for a love song on the radio, or flirting with a boy. Murder in the name of honor is the cost of freedom and love that some young women pay. Under this traditional system, women are viewed as the property of the family and are viewed as being symbols of the family's reputation or honor. If a young woman falls in love or has an affair, her sales value as property falls, but more important, the whole family is believed to be dishonored in the community. These beliefs are so powerful that families are prepared to sacrifice the life of one of their female members to restore their honor and standing in the eyes of others. In Turkey and other countries, the state is implicated in these murders of women. Both the letter of the law and law enforcement provide minimal protection for women when they are alive and collude with the ways the killing is justified after the woman's death. Often those who are known to have participated in the decision to commit the killing are not charged, and family members are rarely required to give evidence in court. When statements are given to police and prosecutors on behalf of the victim, they are often retracted or changed when the case comes to court. Prosecutors rarely call for or conduct wider investigations, and cases end quickly. Everyone, including the judge, knows what really happened and how it happened, but because they also live in the area, they choose not to investigate further. 4 notes and 1 reference