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Women’s organisations in Turkey outraged by the quick release of soldier accused of repeatedly raping a Kurdish teenager

Human Rights Politics

Women’s organisations in Turkey outraged by the quick release of soldier accused of repeatedly raping a Kurdish teenager

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WOMEN’S organisations in Turkey have responded with anger after the release of a Turkish soldier today who allegedly repeatedly raped a Kurdish teenager after less than a week behind bars.

Sergeant Musa Orhan walked free after handing himself in last week amid public outcry and mass protests demanding his arrest after his alleged victim Ipek Er died in hospital, a month after attempting suicide.

It is alleged that he kidnapped the teen and repeatedly raped her over a 20-day period, telling her that nobody would believe her story.

According to a letter written by Ms Er, he said: “No-one can do anything to me. I did this countless times, but no-one was able to do anything.”

Sgt Orhan appears to have the full backing of the Turkish state.

Speaking last week, Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu insisted that women’s organisations were only protesting to cover up for the actions of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) and the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

Today lawyer Mehmet Erkan Akkus threatened those speaking out against his client’s release, saying that he would “make sure that those who slander Turkish soldiers are held accountable in court.”

As public outcry grew, the Interior Ministry issued a statement threatening legal action against media organisations that reported on the release of the alleged rapist.

Speaking to the Morning Star Ankara Women’s Platform spokeswoman Derman Gulmez said: “Today, it is one of a million days that a man is being released after killing a woman, after raping her, after causing her death.

“This is not the first femicide case in Turkey. However, we want it to be the last one…”

She warned that a failure to punish the perpetrators of rape and femicide will encourage men who see this impunity to murder women.

Ms Gulmez, who was among those detained during recent protests against Turkey’s plans to withdraw from the Istanbul Convention, said the government is ignoring women when they take to the streets.

“In Turkey, we wake up to a new femicide every day. We are angry, we come together and shout out that we want to live. Whenever we go out to streets to demonstrate, we are battered by the police and taken into custody.

“Clearly we see that the government protects rapists, murderers … Musa Orhan depends on the army, depends on the power the government gives him.

“He is not alone, unfortunately. He is not the only one because both the system of justice and masculinity are powerful. The system is protecting men,” she said.

But she said that while women are organising under the slogan the Istanbul Convention Saves Lives, legislation does not stop violence against women.

“Living in Turkey for a woman is getting harder every day. We get killed by the men we know. We get killed because we just say no. We get killed because we drink alcohol or we wear skirts.

“In short, the government says that you deserve to die because of your clothes, because of your lifestyle.

“But this is the real lie … We do not accept any excuses. There cannot be any excuses for women to die.”

Ms Gulmez called for international solidarity to raise consciousness about femicides in Turkey.

Source: Star Morning Online

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