Batman Democracy Platform: Rapists enjoy impunity

The suspected rapist of a 17-year-old girl from Batman was released after a brief arrest. The man is an officer in the Turkish army. The local democracy platform speaks of "concealment of the crime by top authorities".

In the province of Batman there have been protests since yesterday against the release of the alleged rapist of a 17-year-old girl, a staff sergeant in the Turkish army. The Democracy Platform of Batman speaks of a cover-up of the crime by "high authorities", as the rape of the girl, which took place on June 24, was established during an investigation by the forensic department. Nevertheless, Musa O., an avowed supporter of the right-wing extremist organization "Grey Wolves", was not investigated at first, although the girl and her parents filed charges with the military police and public prosecutor's office. Investigations were only started after the victim tried to shoot herself with a hunting rifle two days ago. However, it was not in Batman but in the neighbouring province of Siirt, as the crime is said to have taken place there after the minor was abducted from her village in Beşiri district. Less than 24 hours after his arrest, Musa O. was released because there was no danger of absconding, the judge said.

"It doesn't matter where an act like this takes place. Whether in the Kurdish regions or in the West, we as the people of Batman cannot remain silent in view of what has been done to the victim. After all, the life of a young woman is at stake," said Deniz Topkan, co-chairman of the provincial branch of the Health and Social Workers' Union (SES), which is a component of the Democracy Platform, in a press release on Saturday.

Deniz Topkan

Besides Batman, other Kurdish regions are also affected by sexual violence against women and children by Turkish state officials. Last Tuesday, a Turkish staff sergeant also tried to abuse a thirteen-year-old girl in Şırnak. The act could be prevented, as the child's neighbours became aware of it through calls for help. The man was disturbed and fled into his vehicle. A short time later he was confronted and overpowered by local residents. In the meantime he is in custody.

"The practice of impunity for crimes committed by state officials in the Kurdish areas of the country is a method that has always been used," said Melek Atalay of the provincial coordination of the Chamber of Engineers and Architects (TMMOB). "In principle, we can speak of a culture of impunity that has been consolidated by the state. For this very reason, our struggle to ensure the implementation of the Istanbul Convention is a top priority," she added.

Melek Atalay

For a long time, women's organisations have been up in arms nationwide because the Turkish government is considering withdrawing from the Convention. The 2014 agreement is intended to curb violence against women, especially domestic violence, and to strengthen gender equality. Turkey was the first country to sign the convention and had it legally enshrined as a "law to prevent violence against women and protect the family". A large part of the AKP and other Islamist structures are opposed to the convention, as it destroys traditional family structures and family cohesion and puts men in a corner. Atalay demands that the fight for the preservation of the treaty and its implementation be strengthened.