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Middle East

Turkish man ‘electrocuted wife’ during call to police

File - Kurdish protestors use fireworks to gendarmerie on May 31, 2014, at Lice in Diyarbakir, as Kurdish protestors clash to protest against construction of a new gendarmerie outpost in Kurdish-dominated southeastern Turkey. (AFP PHOTO/ILYAS AKENGIN)

ANKARA: A Turkish man is charged with electrocuting his wife as punishment for giving birth to a girl – while he was on the phone to police who failed to avert the crime, media reported Friday.

The 29-year-old from southeastern Diyarbakir province does not deny murdering his wife by placing a live electric cable under her chin as she slept, a day after their second baby girl was born in January.

The Vatan newspaper published on its front page a transcript of a telephone call he placed to police in which he announced his murderous intent, in real time.

“I killed someone,” he told the operator, according to the transcript.

“Who did you kill?” asked the officer on the other end.

“I am killing my wife right now,” said the man.

“Did you kill her or are you killing her?” the officer asked.

“Well, she isn’t dead yet. But I am killing her if the murder is halal,” the man replied.

The officer then asked if the suspect had a problem with his wife.

“I am telling you that I killed my wife but you are asking what the problem was,” the man replied.

“I closed her mouth as she is in the throes of death,” he then said.

At which point, the police operator snapped into action, saying: “OK, wait. I am sending a unit.”

A defense lawyer told the court at a hearing Wednesday that his client killed his wife because she gave birth to “a girl once again.”

The suspect, who worked as a waiter at a local restaurant in a Kurdish-majority region, also has a 4-year-old daughter.

The lawyer also criticized the police for failing to talk the suspect out of his crime.

“If a police officer with a high persuasive capacity and training were on the phone, [the woman] would be alive today.”

The case was the latest example of what rights activists say is a failure by EU hopeful Turkey to protect women from domestic violence.

Men killed a total of 214 women and 10 children in Turkey last year alone, according to a 2014 study conducted by the Ankara-based Hacettepe University.

The same study revealed that 15 percent of women were killed simply because they wanted to divorce their husbands.

“Parliament is currently debating a package of reforms to the penal code but there is no single deterrent provision there that will stop the killing of women,” said Hulya Gulbahar, a women’s rights advocate who is also the head of the association KADER.

“Parliament’s indifference is obvious,” she said.

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on June 07, 2014, on page 12.

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Summary

The Vatan newspaper published on its front page a transcript of a telephone call he placed to police in which he announced his murderous intent, in real time.

The suspect, who worked as a waiter at a local restaurant in a Kurdish-majority region, also has a 4-year-old daughter.

The lawyer also criticized the police for failing to talk the suspect out of his crime.

The case was the latest example of what rights activists say is a failure by EU hopeful Turkey to protect women from domestic violence.

Men killed a total of 214 women and 10 children in Turkey last year alone, according to a 2014 study conducted by the Ankara-based Hacettepe University.


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