Massive march in southern Turkish city after student’s rape and murder

February 19, 2015 9:06 am
About 15,000 people marched in a southern Turkish city in remembrance
of a student whose murder after an attempted rape last week has
galvanized public outrage about violence against women.
Twenty-year-old ’s body was found Friday burned in a riverbed.
She
was last seen two days earlier on a minibus in Mersin, where the
demonstrators gathered last night. Turkish media has reported that the
minibus driver, Suphi Altindoken, later confessed that he killed her and
mutilated her body. He was arrested along with his father and one other
man.
The case has led to mass demonstrations, an outpouring of
anger on social media and allegations that the ruling Justice and
Development Party has not done enough to protect women.

A Turkish woman holds a poster of 20-year old student Ozgecan Aslan,
whose body was found Friday in Mersin in southern . Photo / AP

The protesters marched near Cag University in Mersin, where Aslan was a psychology student.

According to Turkey’s private DHA agency, they carried
banners that said “Rape is a crime against humanity,” “Did you hear
Ozge’s scream?” Others read “Say ‘stop’ to murders of women” and “We are
not mourning but revolting.”
The case has become a rallying cry for action to protect women, and demonstrators also massed in Turkish cities in recent days.
Elif
Logoglu, who heads the non-profit Women’s Movement Association, said
the case has crystalized fears that women feel in Turkey.
“Not only was she attacked, she was then burnt. This hurt us all,” she says. “We hope that her case may be a turning point.”
The
issue has become politically charged. Many of the demonstrators argue
the government has been lenient on sentencing for domestic violence and
sex crimes. Women’s rights groups have criticized skeptical comments by
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan about gender equality and his suggestions
that women should have many children.
Erdogan has pledged to
follow the trial personally and said that he would meet with the
country’s justice minister to encourage prosecutors to seek the stiffest
possible penalty for the perpetrator and his alleged accomplices.

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