Femicide treated as only happening in Turkey, says top court’s president

Groups in Turkey act like femicides don’t happen anywhere else, president of Turkey’s Court of Cassation (Yargıtay) Mehmet Akarca said in an assessment meeting for 2021, news website Artı Gerçek reported on Thursday.

“For the issue of femicide, Turkey has less than half of the European average, but there is a perception that women’s murders are only committed in Turkey. I wish there were none,” Akarca said.

The top court’s president said if workload in coming months could be reduced, Yargıtay could propose an amendment for lawmakers to pass that would allow cases of crimes against women to go direcetly to the court, without having to exhaust lower appeals courts.

Responding to criticism that trials continue for too long, Akarca said there were “some cases where cause of killing is readily apparent, we conclude in a very short amount of time”.

Activist groups recorded at least 280 femicides in 2021, based on media reports as Turkish authorities do not make public relevant data.

According to the 2021 report by advocacy platform We Will Stop Femicides (KCDP), 33 out of 280 women had appealed to the police at least once before they were murdered, and had restraining orders against the men who ended up killing them.

Two hundred and seventeen women were found dead under suspicious circumstances, KCDP found.

Another activist-run resource, the Counter Monument (Anıtsayaç), recorded 414 femicides in 2021.

At least one woman has already been murdered in the first six days of 2022.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan pulled the country out of the Council of Europe Convention on Preventing and Combating Violence against Women and Domestic Violence, better known as the Istanbul Convention on March 19, via an executive order published in the Official Gazette. Turkey formally left the convention in July.

Women’s and LGBT rights groups have protested the decision frequently since discussions began about a year ago.

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