Turkey is in shock after the charred body of Ozgecan Aslan, a 20-year-old university student missing since February 11, was found in a riverbed on Friday. A 26-year-old bus driver has confessed to her murder.
Suphi Altindoken, who now faces murder charges was supposed to be taking her home. According to his own testimony, he first tried to rape Aslan, and when she resisted and fought back, he stabbed her to death.
Following the attack, Altindoken, his 50-year-old father, and his friend Fatih Gökce, burned the body to dispose of the evidence.
Everyday violence against women
In a country where violence against women has become alarmingly routine, the unfortunate, brutal, and inhumane death of a young woman has lead to a surge in public indignation. Ever since Aslan’s body was found, thousands have gathered throughout Turkey to demand justice for her death and an end to violence against women in the country.
Stories with no end in sight
The murder has also produced a hash tag #sendeanlat (tell your story too) to gather women’s experiences of harassment and violence.
State officials and members of the ruling conservative AKP (Justice) party have been regularly criticised by civil society for their weak stance on violence against women and gender equality. Although Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said that he will do “whatever it takes” to stop the violence against women while taking part in a rally in for Aslan in Antalya on February 15, so far the government has not put forward any concrete proposals to combat the problem.
Amid a lack of ideas on the part of the state, public figures such as university lecturer Nurullah Ardıc have added their voice to the debate. But Ardıc’s notion of ’pink buses‘ – colour-coded public transport reserved only for women — seems to showcase rather than solve the deep rooted gender prejudices in Turkish society.
Read more: globalvoicesonline.org – Written by Ece Basay