In February 2004, Güldünya Tören, a 22 year old Turkish woman was being treated in intensive care in an Istanbul hospital after being shot, when a relative told staff he wanted to visit her and then he shot her dead.
Police launched a search for her two brothers and an investigation as to why she was not given protection after the first attempt on her life.
Ms Toren came from a small village in the conservative south-east of the country. She was raped by her aunt’s son-in-law and got pregnant, and was killed by her brothers to ‘clean the honour of the family.’
In 2007 Güldünya’s two brothers İrfan and Ferit Tören were sentenced to life. Güldünya Tören has since become an icon in Turkey for the fight against honor killings.
United Nations special rapporteur on violence against women Yakın Örtürk submitted a report in a 2004 to the UN which gave detailed information about Güldünya’s killing. The report said that Güldünya had “refused” to live with her relative, who had raped her, as his second wife. Güldünya ran off to Istanbul to take refuge with the police, who returned her to her uncle despite the risk. Ertürk’s report also says officials at the Bakırköy State Hospital where Güldünya was shot shared responsibility for her death.
Güldünya Tören had given her baby, whom she named “Umut,” which means hope in Turkish, up for adoption to a couple. The baby was later taken from the couple by an order of State Minister Güldal Akşit after the slaying of Güldünya and placed in a childcare facility of the Social Services Directorate.
Many women from eastern Turkey are isolated as they continue to face honor killings, rape, family and social pressures. The Güldünya Bitlis Women Association (GBKD) was established by 11 female volunteers in the eastern Anatolian province of Bitlis to educate women about their rights and help those who are exposed to domestic violence.
Güldünya Bitlis Women Association, aims to bring hope to women in Bitlis.
Update: Güldünya’s boyfriend has since also been shot dead, allegedly by her father: http://www.todayszaman.com/news-262686-husband-of-killed-woman-in-honor-crime-shot-dead.html