Although it surprised many, the verdict in the Mediterranean port city of Antalya is considered a rare victory for women’s rights organizations in Turkey.
A Turkish woman who killed her husband after he assaulted and tortured her was released by the court in Turkey.
According to activist groups, the slaughter charge brought against the woman showed the way the Turkish state, and much of Turkish society, treat women and girls.
The 31-year-old Melek Ipek was handcuffed and repeatedly raped by her husband.
She testified in court that the man routinely handcuffed her and beat her for hours while threatening to kill her and their children.
Her two daughters confirmed the testimony.
In January, Ipek was arrested and placed on trial for murder. If she had been convicted, she could have spent her entire life behind bars.
Yet, the courageous mother was supported by women’s rights groups and other supporters who claimed she acted in self-defense. They maintained that she should have been given treatment and a psychiatric evaluation after she was detained.
In this way, they believed that authorities will realize she was a victim.
To support her cause and raise awareness of the issue, an image of the battered and bruised Ms. Ipek was widely circulated online.
Fortunately, a judge agreed that the woman killed her husband in self-defense, and she had the right to protect herself against the constant torture, and Ms.Ipek was released.
She was embraced by her two sobbing daughters as she walked out of the courtroom.
Just moments after she was released, Ipek said:
“It’s extraordinary. But I never wanted it to be like this.”
Women’s rights are a major issue in Turkey, as it is said that violence against women is extremely common there.
Activists claim that the hard-line conservative ideals of the current Turkish regime under Recep Erdogan aggravates the issue, so the authorities refuse to get involved in domestic disturbances which are often considered personal domestic matters instead of crimes.
The rights group, We Will Stop Femicide Platform, claims that over 300 women were murdered by their families or partners in Turkey last year.
Many claim that this number is much higher, but many murders are not properly recorded or are ignored.
Berrin Sonmez, an activist and commentator on women’s issues, says:
“In Turkey, at least three women are being killed every day. More importantly, we observe that murders of women have become more violent.”
Turkey decided to withdraw from The Istanbul Convention, a convention aimed at combating gender-based violence and femicide, and this move outraged many.
The Turkish state claims that the reason for this is the fact that women are already protected by domestic Turkish laws.
Yet, many activists believe this is just a way for Erdogan to appeal to his extreme Islamic voter base.