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Murder by ex-husband in cafe sparks outrage against femicide in Turkey

The murder of a Turkish mother by her ex-husband in front of their ten-year-old daughter has stirred up a public outcry over escalating femicides in Turkey, notably on social media, Gazete Duvar news website reported on Friday.

Femicide is the killing of a female on account of her gender.

Emine Bulut, the 38-year-old mother, was stabbed to death by her ex-husband Fedai Baran in front of their daughter in a cafe in Turkey’s central Kirikkale province on August 18.

After stabbing his ex-wife multiple times, Baran fled the crime scene in a taxi.

Bulut, who had divorced Baran four years previously, was rushed to hospital where she subsequently succumbed to her extensive wounds.

Barn was arrested later the same day.

Appearing in court on a charge of murder, Baron confessed to the crime in court, saying: “After she insulted me while talking about the custody of our child, I stabbed her with the knife I brought along.”

Prosecutors have requested the heaviest punishment in the Turkish legal code, an aggravated life sentence, for Baran.

The femicide sparked public outcry on Friday after a video featuring the aftermath of the slaughter was posted on social media.

The video shows Bulut screaming with her chest covered in blood from the stab wounds while her 10-year-old daughter begs her not to die. “I don’t want to die,” Bulut can be heard as saying in the footage from the cafe. “Mama, please don’t die,” her daughter cries.

The slain woman’s name and her last cry has turned into a surging reaction against male violence and femicides on social media and were used as hashtags in the posts that aimed to reignite a debate about women’s rights in Turkey.

While the hashtag #EmineBulut has become a trending topic on Twitter in a short time, some social media users said “We don’t want to die” while expressing their demands for an immediate end to femicides.

Issuing a written statement regarding the murder of Bulut, the Ministry of Family, Labour and Social Services stated that her daughter had been placed under the supervision of the ministry’s psychologists.

“As the ministry, we would like it to be known that we will follow the judicial process and the psychological and social situation of the daughter until the end,” they vowed.

A group of protesters gathered in Turkish capital Ankara to denounce the murder of Bulut on Friday.

“We are ready for any form of action. We will not be silent, we are not afraid and we will not obey. We will keep on our struggle until no women are murdered anymore,” protester Elif Sanci told AFP.

A number of social media users, including politicians, intellectuals, sports teams and supporters of women’s rights have reacted against the femicide on Twitter.

“We lost Emine Bulut because of male violence. We stand by women and children in the fight against violence and we will continue to,” Ekrem Imamoglu, the mayor of Turkey’s business hub Istanbul, promised in a tweet.

A message from the Besiktas football team said: “We are not silent against this savagery. We wish the killings of women to come to an end and the perpetrators to be tried with the most severe penalties. We won’t get used to this, we won’t be silent.”

 “What is sacred is not the family, but human life! It is not the divorces that we need to prevent, but femicides! And if it is male terror, then it needs to be called male terror, we have given way too many losses to open it to debate. Drown in the tears of this little girl. Stop these femicides, now!” actress Hazal Kaya emphasized.

Journalist Banu Guven also argued in a tweet that Bulut’s murder once again showed the “falsity” of the mentality that does not protect women but protects marriages that can be the end of women.

“Never forget about this mother and daughter,” she added.

Istanbul Women’s Council, which was formed in August 2017 with the aim of finding solutions to women’s problems in Turkey, stated: “The ones who apply sentence reductions to women murderers, those who do not protect women, who attack our rights are a party to the murder of Emine.”

A U.S. State Department report underlined in 2018 that men in Turkey who are sentenced for femicides can in some cases receive “reduced sentences … citing good behavior during the trial or ‘provocation’ by women as an extenuating circumstance of the crime,” while police frequently fail to enforce restraining orders issued to protect victims of domestic abuse.

“The fact that her last cry was asking not to be killed is the symbol of how little, we as women, want. In Turkey, our demand, as women, is not to be killed,” women’s rights platform We Will Stop Femicide representative Gulsum Kav told the BBC.

She also tweeted: “Emine Bulut is the symbol of an attack on Istanbul Convention that is the solution of femicides while our little sister who remained behind [the daughter] is the symbol of the society’s future. We vow to keep both women and children alive and certainly win the future.”

Kav referred to the Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence that was opened for signature in Istanbul in May 2011.

The convention obliges signatories to fight discrimination on the basis of sex, sexual orientation, and gender identity, as well as to take precautions against domestic violence, compensate its victims and sentence perpetrators proportionally.

The femicide of Bulut became the latest in a long series of similar incidents to spark cries of outrage on Turkey’s social media, with thousands joining the protest against a growing problem in the country.

A total of 245 women have been killed in Turkey in the first seven months of 2019, according to the data released by the We Will Stop Femicide platform.

A report by Turkey’s Hacettepe University also uncovered that 36 percent of married or previously married women in Turkey have been subjected to physical violence at least once in their lifetime.

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