Turkish family minister under fire for consoling singer beaten by boyfriend

Turkey’s Minister of Labour, Social Services and Family, Zehra Zümrüt Selçuk, has been criticised in pro-government media this week after telephoning to console an unmarried woman, Turkish singer Sıla Gençoğlu, who filed a domestic violence complaint against her boyfriend.

Last week, a Turkish court approved a three-month restraint order against Ahmet Kural, a Turkish actor and the singer’s boyfriend. 

The domestic violence incident between two Turkish celebrities has turned into a debate on morality, as Kural accused Sıla of infidelity, while pro-government media focused on the fact that the couple are not married. 

The minister talked to the singer on Saturday and congratulate her for choosing not to remain silent against violence and said the ministry supported her, Cumhuriyet reported

“If I were the minister, I would first ask ‘were you beaten by your husband?’. Because the question that should be asked by the family minister should be related to the family,” Yavuz Bahadıroğlu, a columnist of the Islamist Yeni Akit said on Tuesday. 

Bahadıroğlu said the minister should have hung up the phone the moment she learned it was a boyfriend not a husband who had beaten the singer. 

Pro-government journalist Yusuf Kaplan also lashed out at the minister on social media.

“One person living together with another one without being married beats her. The minister responsible of the family calls and wishes her to get well soon. Is there someone who will say ‘get well soon’ to the minister?” he asked on Twitter. 

Islamist theologian İhsan Şenocak criticised the minister for legitimising what he said was adultery. 

“If you call adultery love, you will destroy the family,” he told Yeni Akit on Wednesday. 

Pro-government media previously targeted Sıla for declining to participate in a large rally in Istanbul held by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan after the 2016 failed coup attempt.