Violence against women, especially by their spouses, is a major concern for Turkey. In response, activists along with the government have begun a campaign to prevent murder and other acts of violence in light of the rising number of cases. Figures provided by a Turkish newspaper and Anıt Sayaç, a website recording the number of fatal domestic violence cases, show the number of murders reached at least 144 in the first six months of 2015, 14 percent higher than the same period in 2014. However, these are unofficial figures, as the authorities do not release statistics regarding murders targeting women - a murky area in which to discern domestic violence cases from murders with other motives.
Newspaper's figures show 149 women were, killed while this number is 144 according to Anıt Sayaç. The numbers are based on news stories regarding the murders, and it is believed that the number may be higher if yet unsolved murder cases are added. Unofficial figures from last year show at least 294 women were killed in 2014 with 130 of them killed in the first six months of 2014.
The majority of murdered women are between the ages of 25 and 45, and 52 of them were murdered by their husbands, the newspaper reported. Most victims, at least 22 women, were murdered in Istanbul, the country's most populated city, while 12 were murdered in İzmir, another big city in western Turkey.
Violence against women perpetrated by their spouses is a major cause of concern, as the public outcry against "femicide" continues to escalate. The government has launched a nationwide campaign to raise awareness of the issue alongside an action plan to tackle the violence. Amid new measures, which will soon be implemented nationwide, is a tracking system for domestic violence perpetrators and tougher sentences without the likelihood of a reduction of sentences in cases involving violence against women.
A study conducted by the Hacettepe University Institute of Population Studies indicates that a mindset of degrading women and imposing restrictions on them may be the culprit. Researchers found that men convicted for murdering their wives had little regret about their actions and that men interviewed justify non-lethal violence towards women "to protect their honor," especially against women cheating on their husbands. The study also reveals the unhealthy habit of men committing violence by blaming women for provoking them.