Posts Tagged ‘Turkey’

Fadime Sahindal

Fadime Sahindal, 26, Sweden.

Fadime Şahindal moved to Sweden from Turkey at the age of seven. She took to Swedish culture and was opposed to her family’s insistence on an arranged marriage.

She was 26 when her father killed her. Several years before Fadime appeared in the media and talked openly about her family’s struggles to integrate into Swedish culture and the problems she faced growing up.

She had left home at one point to live with her boyfriend. Fadime’s boyfriend Patrick died in a car crash the day they were to move in together.

She was stalked by her father and brother who threatened to kill her so she went to the police who advised her to talk to her family. She then turned to the media with her story which gained the nation’s sympathy in 1998. By going to the media Fadime managed to receive support from the Swedish authorities, but she had also made the “shame” of her family public.

A Kurdish-Swedish parliamentarian negotiated a compromise in which Şahindal agreed to stay away from Uppsala where her family lived and her boyfriend was buried in exchange for her father promising not to stalk her.

On the 20th of November 2001 the Violence Against Women Network arranged a seminar about the topic “Integration on who’s terms?”.  Click the link to find the speech held by Fadime Sahindal at the Swedish Parliament during the seminar.

She tells the detailed story of her father’s disapproval of her relationship with her Swedish boyfriend, Patrick and her wish to help other ethnic minority women in similar situations.

On 21 January 2002, Fadime was secretly visiting her mother and sisters in Uppsala. Her father, Kurdish immigrant Rahmi Sahinhal, arrived and shot her in the head, in front of her mother and two sisters. Confronted by police, he confessed and said to his defence that he was ill.

Fadime’s murder sparked a debate in Sweden about immigrant integration and also raised questions regarding her boyfriend Patrick’s death.

When he was in court in 2002, charged with Fadime’s killing, Rahmi confessed to the murder.  He said his daughter was a “whore” and claimed he had to kill her for family “honour”

Following her death successive governments have launched programs to combat honour based violence in Sweden. Commemorations are held around Sweden marking the anniversary of Fadime’s death.

Fadime was buried in Uppsala.



Swirls of your hair,

They catch the last rays of the dusking sun,

And holds it around you.


Glowing amber light.

A warmth of fire in your eyes,

From courage mustered

Through the trails of time.


Dear one,

How you must have held dear to Love,

Protecting it like the warrior you are.

For you are the true warrior,

Defending love’s existence,

A voice for it to be freed.


Lovers saw in you, purpose.

You are its purpose, oh True Martyr of Love.












Yasemine Çetin

Yasemine Çetin, 16, Turkey.

Yasemine was married-off at a young age and was soon given back to her family, only to die at the age of 16.

Not long after Yasemine’s arranged marriage, she was raped by her brother-in-law. Her husband and his family believed this made her impure and shameful. The husband rejected his bride and returned her to her father’s home, knowing she would not be welcome there either because of her dishonour. Days later, Yasemine was shot to death by her own brother.

Her brother-in-law was charged with rape. Yasemine’s father was arrested for provoking the honour killing, but her brother fled and is still at large.  Yasemine Çetin’s funeral was held by a local women’s group in June of 2006. None of her family members attended.


Yasemine, my beloved one,

This heart cannot fully fathom,

What it must have been to just be.

This mind cannot fully comprehend,

Your courage. Your glory.


You smile like there is hope,

Like there is that better day,

Like there is love,

Despite what they put you though.

You glow like there is God,

Like the heart cannot break,

Like there is strength,

Despite pain.

Despite days of rain.

You are in essence,

All of Life my dear.

It is an honor that you walked this Earth,

For when you lived, this Earth was blessed.





Güldünya Tören

Güldünya Tören, 24, Turkey.

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: