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Turkey: Minister to push for legislative measures against domestic violence

Fatma SahinFamily and Social Policy Minister Fatma Şahin

Turkey: Minister to push for legislative measures against domestic violence

Family and Social Policy Minister Fatma Şahin is set to meet with women's rights groups on Dec. 28 to discuss putting in place legislative measures as a means of dealing with domestic violence omnipresent in Turkish society.

#350;ahin will present a comprehensive series of statistics gathered by a pioneering women's rights platform, Kadın Cinayetlerini Durduracağız (We will stop Women's Murders), on an occasion that many hope will succeed in taking critical steps in addressing one of the most pressing concerns on the national agenda.

Figures collated by the platform between March and November of this year indicate that during this nine month period, 208 women were murdered in family-related violence. A representative of the platform, Berna Görgülü, said that had such a bill been passed earlier, perhaps many of these 208 women would still be alive.

The non-profit organization Haklı Kadın Platformu (A Platform for Women with Rights) are calling for the drafting of a bill as the most sensible solution to the problem, advising that reconciliation therapy or family counseling is not a practical solution for a woman who is experiencing domestic violence at the hands of her partner. Federation of Women's Associations of Turkey (TKDF) President Canan Güllü has added that if such a bill is passed it will at least provide effective protection and the opportunity to administer legal proceedings in such cases.

The figures published by Kadın Cinayetlerini Durduracağız point to consistent and unwavering patterns of violence relating to murders, attempted murders, rapes, violence and suicides in suspicious circumstances. The month with the highest number of murders was September, when 32 women were murdered, with the lowest number of murders being recorded in June and November, both of which saw the murders of 16 women. The average number of murders per month was 23.

2011 has been a stark year for the struggle for women's rights in Turkey. In November Mustafa Çadır, an expert from the Ministry of Family and Social Policy, stated at a conference on violence against woman in Ankara organized by the Ankara Police Department that two out of every five women have been exposed to physical violence in Turkey, defining physical violence as beating, stabbing or exposure to unsafe conditions that can cause physical harm. Fifty-six percent of illiterate women are exposed to physical violence, according to the study.