Hundreds of honour killings in Turkey since 2001: report

ANKARA: Honour killings have claimed the lives of nearly 350 men and women in Turkey since 2001, a report said this week.

Drawing on data from completed court cases, a study by Inonu University in Malatya, eastern Turkey, found that 344 murders including 288 of women were committed since 2001 with the intention of “cleansing honour”, the Anatolia news agency said.

The study divided the murders into two groups, “tradition killings” in which a woman perceived as immoral or sullied is killed as a result of a family decision, and “honour killings” that can target men or women, chief researcher Osman Celbis was quoted as saying.

Verdicts showed that 172 murders were committed in each of the two categories, Celbis said.

As a result of recently increased sentences for such killings, there was now a trend for families to force women to commit suicide instead of murdering them, he said.

He urged the authorities to take a closer look at cases of apparent suicide involving young women.

In “tradition killings”, more prevalent among Turkey’s Kurdish community, a so-called family council meets and names a clan member to murder a female relative considered to have sullied the family honour, usually by engaging in an extra-marital affair.

But the practice has on occasions resulted in the killing of rape victims or women who have simply talked to male strangers or requested a song on the radio.

The clan member named to conduct the killing is usually a teenage male, who would receive a lighter sentence because of his age.
Male victims of honour killings are usually those accused of rape, abduction or forcing a woman into prostitution.

The government and civic groups have in recent years stepped up efforts to stamp out honour killings, but the practice still has considerable public support in the mainly Kurdish southeast.
A 2006 survey found 37% of people in Diyarbakir, the largest city in the region, believe a woman who has an extra-marital affair should be killed. – AFP

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