The other side of EuroPop. In Turkey, singing on TV can get you shot. If you’re a woman.

Posted: May 26, 2015 in Political musings, Religion
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,


Screenshot of Mutlu from YouTube


Last weekend the world thrilled to the fun of the Eurovision Song Contest. But now the shooting of a 19-year-old woman following an appearance singing on TV is bringing violence against women in Turkey to light. Mutlu Kaya was shot in the head southeastern Turkey’s Diyarbakir, in what is the most recent in a string of high-profile attacks on women in the country. Her crime? Singing. That’s it.

Such cases have brought attention to a rising tide of violence against women in Turkey. According to Bianet, a Turkey-based NGO and news source, there was a 31 percent increase in murders of women by men between 2013 and 2014. Researchers place the number of women murdered in 2014 at nearly 300.

According to local media, Kaya began receiving death threats from her extended family after being selected to appear on national TV in Sesi Cok Guzel, a talent competition in the vein ofAmerica’s Got Talent. Kaya was shot in the head while at home early Monday morning. She was rushed to a local hospital before being moved to a larger hospital in Diyarbakir, where she remains in intensive care.

 Although it has yet to be confirmed, it is reported that Kaya was threatened by her extended family for going to Istanbul to participate in the contest — there is speculation that the attack was motivated by Kaya’s choice to step outside of traditional gender roles.
Degir Deniz

Degir Deniz

Kaya’s shooting comes on the heels of two other high-profile murders. On May 5th, the body of a popular 39-year old singer-songwriter, Deger Deniz, was found strangled in her Istanbul home.

And on February 11th, Ozgecan Aslan, a 20-year old psychology student in Mersin, was brutally assaulted and murdered after resisting a rape.

Her burned and mutilated body was later found in a creek outside of town.

Aslan’s murder sparked an outcry against violence against women in Turkey. Protesters – including men wearing miniskirts to show solidarity – took to the streets.

Ozgecan Aslan

Ozgecan Aslan

Hundreds of thousands women tweeted their experiences with sexism, gender-based violence and harassment under the hashtag #sendeanlat, which translates to “you tell your story too.”

In the aftermath of Ozgecan’s murder, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan stated that violence against women is Turkey’s “bleeding wound.” However, the AKP has repeatedly placed a paternalistic emphasis on women only within their context as mothers and daughters. Erdogan went on to call on men to protect women, based on their relationship to men: “I call on gentlemen occupying most of the important decision-making positions: This could have happened to our daughters as well.”

Erdogan’s conservative Justice and Development party (AKP) has been widely criticised for its stance on women’s issues. The party renamed the Ministry for Women and Family as the Ministry of Family and Social Policy, positioning their focus not on women’s rights but on women as just one of many at-risk social groups. And in 2014, one of the party’s most senior members, Bulent Arinc, said that women should “be humble and protect their chasteness. They should not laugh out loud in public,” prompting an avalanche of tweets of women doing just that.

At a women’s conference in Istanbul in 2014, Erdogan said that to put women as equal to men is “against nature” because they are “delicate.”

Speaking on a BBC podcast, The Inquiry: Is Life Getting Worse For Women In Erdogan’s Turkey? in March, Professor Deniz Kandiyoti, who specializes in gender relations in Turkey at the University of London, said of the AKP’s rhetoric: “what trickles down of course is that some women are worthy of protection. Other women: it’s open season.”

To see this happening in what was always touted as the most Westernised and secular Muslim state in the world is especially distressing. To be sure, familial violence against women is a cultural issue not a primarily religious one – it occurs in Christian and Hindu communities too – but it would be hoped that the fitfully modernising trend of a country like Turkey would reduce its prevalence and set an example of tolerance to the rest of the region.

Sadly, apparently not.

(From Think Progress and others)

  1. gwpj says:

    Thank you for posting and sharing this, Yolly. This is disgusting and way beyond all decent standards of morality. If something like this happened to one of my granddaughters, the person guilty of it would not want to meet me or their fathers.


  2. underwriiter505 says:

    Delicate. Right. Any man who thinks women are “delicate” should try going through labor.


  3. Pat A says:

    These barbaric, brutal, senseless, utterly dishonourable and cowardly murders make all decent people want to weep.

    Yet when we have shed tears we have got to work out how to get through to these people (mostly but not all, by any means, men) and get them to actually THINK and to realise that women have intelligence and feelings and should be treated as a human being. (It makes me think of Freudian theories as to why some men behave in such a brutal manner …). I am delighted to hear that men took to the streets in Turkey – and wearing mini skirts too – in protest about Aslan’s murder. God bless them all.

    We often forget today that in the West we have been given rights slowly, and a couple of hundred years ago only a few very rich men were allowed to vote, then they became more enlightened and gradually the franchise to vote was extended and extended, until it covered all men and women. Therefore it is thanks to enlightened men that we can all vote! How I hope and pray that such enlightenment would spread quickly all over the world.


  4. Pat A says:

    Thanks underwriter505 – I read the Daily Kos piece with tears in my eyes – I have been where Boophus was too. God bless and protect Boophus who wrote that piece – she has stood fearless in front of men who were beating women and made them back down, she is utterly heroic (and may angels always guard her, especially in those situations as they are horribly dangerous – witnesses can be got rid of if a manic man [or occasionally woman] is so inclined!).


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