Turkish gov't vows zero tolerance on violence against women

DAILY SABAH
ISTANBUL
Published 07.09.2019 00:12

The government has reassured the public that it pursues and would continue to pursue a "zero tolerance" policy on any acts of violence against women.

Justice Minister Abdülhamid Gül told reporters Friday that the courts have issued since January some 375,425 orders for the protection of women threatened with violence. He did not elaborate on the orders but they usually involve restraining orders for suspects and in some cases, preventive detention of suspects.

"We reject and condemn violence against women and children. We approach such cases with zero tolerance. All relevant authorities are in coordination to ensure this and our prosecutors resolutely pursue all cases involving violence toward women," he said.

A murder last month sparked public outrage over violence against women, prompting calls for strict sentences for perpetrators and better protection for women.

The attack on Emine Bulut, from central Turkey's Kırıkkale, saddened and horrified millions when a video where she was seen covered in blood after her former husband stabbed her in a cafe was circulated. She later died in the hospital.

Bulut's cry in the video, "I don't want to die" was turned into a social media campaign to raise awareness against the issue plaguing women in Turkey. According to unofficial figures, 49 women were killed either by their spouses, family members or relatives in August and 294 women were killed in the country since January in acts of domestic violence.

Along with awareness campaigns, experts say harsher laws are needed to fight domestic violence. More often than not, Turkish courts reduce sentences in such cases if the victim "provoked" the suspect, under a controversial interpretation of Turkish laws.

Domestic violence claimed 932 lives between 2016 and 2018. Turkey is striving to eradicate the disturbing phenomenon by increasing prison terms for perpetrators and awareness campaigns denouncing violence toward women, the product of a twisted patriarchal mindset.

Some perpetrators justify murders by saying the victim deserved it for "staining their honor," or cheating and in the case of former husbands, marrying someone else. The government plans a new bill to hand down a sentence of at least 40 years in prison for crimes against women.

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