The police in Istanbul, Turkey have detained a suspect in the killing of academic Aylin Sözer, in what is being understood as the country's latest case of femicide. Local media reports that 48-year-old Sözer, head of a preschool, was murdered at her residence in Maltepe earlier this week. Her death sparked a wave of anger among women who brought notice to the country's urgent issue of hate crimes against women. As Turkey mourned Sözer's death, police identified a suspect and took him into custody.
Al-Jazeera reports Sözer headed the preschool department at Istanbul Aydın University. She was attacked at her residence by 32-year-old Kemal Ayyıldız around 8:00 am. BBC Turkey, citing reports, claims the couple had a heated argument, following which the suspect killed her. Police reportedly said that he made an attempt to burn her after "after slitting her throat." Some local media also stated neighbours in the area tried to "lynch" Ayyıldız when police arrested him.
Reactions To Aylin Sözer's Killing
Sözer's death evoked a spate of reactions from the public in Turkey, who voiced its concerns over the burning issue of femicide. Women are calling for justice in the femicide case. Turkey’s First Lady Emine Erdogan, wife of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, also expressed anguish over Sözer's death, writing on Twitter, "Every femicide opens new wounds in our hearts. We expect the criminals who murdered our women to receive the heaviest punishment."
Her kadın cinayeti, kalbimizde yeni yaralar açıyor. Kadınlarımızı katleden canilerin en ağır cezayı almalarını bekliyoruz.— Emine Erdoğan (@EmineErdogan) December 29, 2020
Yitirdiğimiz tüm kardeşlerime Allah’tan rahmet, ailelerine ve tüm ülkemize başsağlığı diliyorum.
Turkey’s Vice President Fuat Oktay also reportedly wrote on Twitter, "I have no doubt that the murderer who has not received his share of humanity will be punished as he deserves by the Almighty Turkish justice."
Vahşice katledilen #AylinSözer'in acı kaybı hepimizi derinden sarstı.— Fuat Oktay (@fuatoktay) December 29, 2020
Merhumeye Allah’tan rahmet, ailesine ve eğitim camiamıza başsağlığı diliyorum.
İnsanlıktan nasibini almamış caninin Yüce Türk adaleti tarafından hak ettiği şekilde cezalandırılacağından şüphem yoktur.
Turkey's Issue Of Femicide
In July this year, the murder of Pinar Gultekin, a 27-year old woman from Turkey, by her ex-boyfriend had made global headlines as evidence of the country's persistent problem of femicide. Her brutal killing had been protested in the country through public vigils and social media trends. It was reported that the popular Black & White Challenge that emerged online, which required women to post a monochrome picture of themselves and tag other girlfriends to do the same, was originally incepted by the women of Turkey to bring notice to femicide and its victims.
Femicide is broadly understood as gender-based hate crimes, primarily comprising the murder of females for their gender. According to data based on portal We Will Stop Femicide, 474 women were murdered in femicide cases in Turkey in 2019. Reports suggest there is also widespread fear surrounding the abolishment of some Istanbul Convention provisions that aim at protecting women from violence.