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Turkish "love" - one honour killing a day and 19 mln Turks in favor of it

Reader comment on item: Turkey: An Ally No More
in response to reader comment: illogical

Submitted by Ianus (Poland), Nov 12, 2009 at 17:33

havas wrote :

"İn Turkey, honour killings are not as common as you think, they happen only in certain parts of the country."

"Hurriyet" has a different story to tell :

"A question from Aydin CHP MP Özlem Çerçioglu to State Minister Nimet Çubukçu made it clear that more honour killings take place in Turkey than people may think. 1806 women have fallen victim to honour killings in the past five years. The number of women to commit suicide within the same time period was 5375. According to this information, 1 woman dies every day for the sake of 'honour'.

" So-called "honour killings" in Turkey have reached record levels. According to government figures, there are more than 200 a year – half of all the murders committed in the country...According to a recent government report, there is now one honour killing a week in Istanbul."

The quotes disagree with your apologetic claim, Havas. But surely, you will tell me now another fairy tale of how new, more stringent laws against "honour killings" remedy the situation. Yet, the funny and typically Turkish response to this "remedy' is not obeying the law at all! It is circumventing it now by forcing the wretched girls and women to commit suicide instead if family's "honour" has been stained.

" Now, in a sinister twist, comes the emergence of 'honour suicides'. The growing phenomenon has been linked to reforms to Turkey's penal code in 2005. That introduced mandatory life sentences for honour killers, whereas in the past, killers could receive a reduced sentence claiming provocation. Soon after the law was passed, the numbers of female suicides started to rocket."

And there is another "ingenious" means to circumvent the law. "Honour killings are usually committed by the under-aged male relative of the women. Obviously, the reason is to shorten the jail sentence time. According to the Turkish Criminal Code, the punishment of the first degree murder is 24 years. Moreover, if the murder is committed by a family member then the punishment is a life long jail sentence without parole. However, if there is provocation in the case, and/or the murder is committed by an adolescent, the duration of the punishment is significantly shortened."

Now a individual case from Turkey : Elif's father told her she had to kill herself in order to spare him from a prison sentence for her murder [...] All Elif had done was simply decline the offer of an arranged marriage with an older man, telling her parents she wanted to continue her education. That act of disobedience was seen as bringing dishonour on her whole family – a crime punishable by death. "I managed to escape. When I was at school, a few girls I knew were killed by their families in the name of honour – one of them for simply receiving a text message from a boy," Elif said. "

"

Another interesting thing is that in Turkey honour killing enjoys broad popular support and sympathy.

"[...]the entrenched belief in the notion of honour – at all levels of society – is impeding any progress. "Honour killings aren't always properly investigated because some police and prosecutors share the same views as the honour killers,"

This is confirmed by Turkish Daily "Today's Zaman" which relies on the official study : "According to the report released by the ministry, 13 percent of the parents and 9.9 percent of students had witnessed an honor killing[...] the study also showed that 26.2 percent of the parents and 25.9 percent of the students said they support such killings".

26% ? If applied to all Turks (c. 73 mln), it would amount to some 19 mln Turks in favour of honour killing. A proud number, indeed !

Some tragi-comic things about the engrained Turkish tradition of honour killing include i.al. the following.

Before the introduction of the new "better" laws the notorious article 462 was in force which gave judges discretion to reduce a murder sentence in honour killings by as much as 80 per cent.

"Men who kill because of honour are regarded very highly in prison and their feet are washed by inmates.

Mother's who kill babies which were conceived out of wedlock only gets 4-8 years. If a mother kills a baby which was conceived in marriage, she gets a life sentence without parole or the death sentence.

The choice of weapon is usually associated with economical status, eg. a gun for richer families etc. Traditionally, they were thrown into the well.

When a person expresses condolences to the dead girl's family, the family acts in a rude way and says this is something to celebrate and not mourn. "

As the conclusion of the above I can't but quote the old saying for you, Havas, "You can't whitewash a black dog." Or to be less metaphorical "You can't civilize the Turk."

Submitting....

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Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

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