Academic journal article Journal of International Women's Studies

Defining Recent Femicide in Modern Turkey: Revolt Killing

Academic journal article Journal of International Women's Studies

Defining Recent Femicide in Modern Turkey: Revolt Killing

Article excerpt

Introduction

The murder of Ayse Pasali that was committed by her divorced husband in 2010 has become a turning point for femicide in Turkey. After the murder of Pasali, femicides, which have been on rise in the last five years, have become more visible in media and caused the government to make new regulations against those murders of women. Before being murdered, Ayse Pasali had submitted her petition for divorce with the justification of her husband's violence committed against her. Before and after the divorce she had demanded official protection, but Pasali never got any response, and finally she was left alone in the hands of her killer husband. The murder of Pasali was obviously approaching, but no precautions were taken by the authorities. Ayse Pasali was not only the woman who was killed by her husband. Furthermore, according to statistics that were collected by women's organizations, women who were killed by their husbands, ex-husbands, and partners as result of their demands to divorce or separate constitute the majority among all femicides that occurred in the last few years. Statistics show that the demand for divorce or separation is one of the highest reasons for femicide in Turkey. That can be easily seen in the news stories in print and in the media. The article starts from this point and claims that current terms are inadequate to explain those murders, thus they need to be understood in a new concept. The article suggests that recent femicides should be considered apart from the terms honor killing and tore killing, which are related to traditionalism. In the article, those murders are examined in the sense of the dilemma between tradition and modernity and with the conflict between the new status of women, which is built as a result of success gained in the last decade and the traditional status of men that defend the patriarchal system. As result of this argument, the article raises a new term, "revolt killing", for defining those femicides.

The arguments that are discussed in the article are based on literature review related to the topic. Statistics on femicide in Turkey are obtained from state institutions and particularly from "The Platform of We Will Stop Femicide", which is an organization that works for women's rights in Turkey. Aiming to analyze recent femicides in Turkey, this article acknowledges the data of this platform as a base, and takes news of murders of women that happened in September 2013 as a sample.

Honor, Tore and Crimes of Passion

Broadly defined, honor means "the quality of knowing and doing what is morally right" (Oxford Dictionary). From a social perspective, honor is a sense of worthiness that affects both individuals and groups. In this respect, acting with honor elevates one's self-worth, as well as provides him/her with respect from the surrounding society. In addition to individuals, honor can profoundly affect social groups, namely family. When a member of a family faces a problem related to honor, the problem concerns the whole household. Issues pertaining to honor, then, are generally family and not individual matters.

There are many forms of honor in Turkey, such as seref, onur, haya, izzet and ar, each reflecting specific social values. The term namus corresponding to honor in Turkish language refers to fidelity, chastity, honesty, and righteousness and most closely applies to female sexuality. In his research on Turkish migrants in the Netherlands, Clementine van Eck (2003) identifies the fervent protection of namus by both women and men; once the namus of a family is lost, it is impossible to fully restore. Potential solutions to the loss of this kind of honor include marrying the person who violated the namus or for the woman involved to commit suicide. Even if such measures are taken, the family will be known as namussuz: lacking namus. It is the responsibility of male family members to protect and restore the namus of the family. …

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