According to data collected by JinNews, in 2020 at least 332 women were murdered, 110 women died suspiciously, 33 children were killed and 49 children were exposed to sexual abuse in Turkey.
Domestic violence and state violence against women has reportedly increased in 2020 in both Turkey and the world. In Turkey, government officials urged people to “stay at home”. However, homes are often the most dangerous places for most women who suffer from domestic violence. The Turkish state has reportedly not done enough to protect women at home: on the contrary, it has released perpetrators of domestic violence from prisons with a new regulation. Moreover, the government has not implemented the Istanbul Convention. Instead, it has moved closer to withdrawing from the Convention which is aimed at preventing violence whilst providing victim protection and ending the impunity of perpetrators.
Increasing male violence: from Gulistan to Aylin
With the disappearance of university student Gülistan Doku on 5 January 2020 in Tunceli (Dersim), the struggle of women against male violence had already expressed itself early in 2020. Women asked the question “Where is Gülistan Doku” throughout the year whilst hundreds more women were murdered and lost their lives suspiciously in Turkey.
Fatma Altınmakas wanted to give a statement in Kurdish to the police in Muş (Mûş) but could not do so due to the lack of a translator. She was unable to explain how she had been raped. She was later murdered by Kazım Altınmakas, whom she was married to. Zeynep Şenpınar was murdered by Ahmet Selim Kemaloğlu in Muğla for refusing to be with him. İpek Er took her own life after she was raped by Sergeant Musa Orhan. Aylin Sözer was brutally murdered by Kemal Ayyıldız in Istanbul. These are only a few examples of women who were murdered in 2020.
At least 332 women were murdered in 2020
According to JinNews, men murdered at least 332 women in 2020 in Turkey. Whilst the perpetrators of 42 of the murdered women could not be found, 290 women were murdered by their closest relatives (father, spouse, sibling, ex-friend, relative, child). 110 women died under suspicious circumstances, 83 women survived attempted murder and 94 women were subjected to harassment, rape and violence.
An increase in violence and abuse against children
In 2020, there was also a reported increase in violence and abuse against children. At least 33 children were murdered, 14 children were subjected to physical violence, 49 children were sexually abused and 33 children died suspiciously.
No justice in courts
There were many cases of male violence throughout the year. Although the actions of women on social media and their presence in courthouses effected some decisions positively, most of the time “good behaviour”, “provocation” and “appreciation” considerations were applied in cases. The perpetrators were protected by the courts. JinNews reports that good conduct decisions were applied to perpetrators in at least 36 cases throughout the year. Although women were murdered in every city in Turkey, the highest rate of women being murdered took place in İstanbul, with 49 women reportedly murdered in the city in 2020 alongside 19 women who died under suspicious circumstances.
Perpetrators who are men in uniform
One of the most prominent issues that became evident in 2020 was the extent to which massacre and rape attempts were made by men in uniform (for example, by police, soldiers, gendarmerie, etc.). When sergeant Musa Orhan raped İpek Er and caused her death, women took to the streets in Turkey and protested. Special sergeant Alparslan A. in Cizre sexually abused a child, and the special sergeant Tufan A. in Van (Wan) raped a child. Twelve women were killed or were subjected to murder attempts by men in uniforms in 2020.
Most of the women who lost their lives were killed by firearms
Women were mostly murdered with firearms in 2020 but the state has reportedly not practically addressed these concerns sufficiently. Whilst 148 women were reportedly murdered using firearms, others were murdered in different ways – the use of cutting tools and torture was evident, for example.
20 women were murdered by men in December 2020 alone
According to the December violence report, at least 20 women lost their lives at the hands of men and eight women died suspiciously. After the murder of the academics Aylin Sözer, Selda Taş, and Vesile Dönmez and Betül Tuğluk on the same day, women took to the streets in protest. They have consistently called for resistance and struggle against male and state linked violence.