Hülya Taş, Dilek A., Esra Aksel

The deaths of three young women at the hands of their family members for wanting to marry the person of their choosing show that falling in love can justify honor killings in some communities in Turkey, the Radikal daily has reported.

The three recent murders, reported yesterday by the Radikal daily, show the intolerable pain of being a woman in Turkey in the 21st century.

Hülya Taş (19) was killed in the middle of İstanbul in June 2007 by her brother, Okan Taş, after the family elders decided that it was what she deserved for being together with the person she fell in love with. The court reduced the brother's sentence, taking into consideration his "enragement" with his sister's sexual involvement with her boyfriend. Her brother was sentence to 17 years while six other suspects, the family members who decided on Taş's execution, were released.

Dilek A.'s faced the same fate. She fell in love with Alper Özdemir, who was an Alevi. Dilek A.'s Sunni family did not approve despite the countless times the Özdemir family asked for her hand for their son. The family finally agreed and on Jan 3. Özdemir, his mother and aunt visited Dilek A.'s family home to talk about the details of the wedding. Dilek A.'s 17-year-old brother, A.A., who found out that his brother-in-law-to-be was in the house, came home with a gun and started a shooting spree, targeting Dilek A. and Özdemir. Both died of heavy hemorrhaging. A.A. said he was given the gun by his uncle, Soner A., who denies he incited the shooting. However, Özdemir's grieving father said his son had been threatened by both Soner A. and Dilek A.'s brothers numerous times. Dilek A.'s father, Şahin A., commenting on his son's act, said: "I don't know where he got the gun. He used to watch the [television series] Valley of the Wolves too much. That might have been the reason."

In December 2006, 19-year-old Esra Aksel was killed by her brother who got enraged when Aksel picked up the phone to talk to her boyfriend. Her brother, Ahmet Aksel, later confessed he killed his sister to "restore the family's honor." He was sentenced to 15 years.

To read original article, go to: