Turkish man receives life sentence for murder of ex-wife

A court in Turkey has given a life sentence to a man who killed his ex-wife in front of their 10-year-old child in a case that sparked national outrage in Turkey earlier this year.

Fedai Varan fatally stabbed his ex-wife Emine Bulut in front of their daughter and customers at a café in Kırıkkale province, central Turkey, on Aug. 18.

Footage of the killing circulated on social media, sparking outcry and turning her last words, “I don’t want to die,” into a rallying cry for Turks protesting the large number of women murdered in the country.

The Kırıkkale Criminal Court found 43-year-old Varan guilty of "killing with malicious intent" and sentenced him to life imprisonment in accordance with Article 81 of the Turkish Penal Code, state-run Anadolu New Agency reported. 

The court rejected Varan’s lawyer's requests for a reduction, it said. 

Bulut’s mother and father, her siblings, bar representatives from 81 provinces, representatives of non-governmental organizations and women's associations attended the second hearing in the case, Anadolu said. 

A scuffle broke out between Bulut’s siblings and police, who intervened when the siblings a reacted to Varan during the hearing, Anadolu said. 

The Chief Public Prosecutor’s office is set to appeal the ruling, demanding an aggravated life sentence.

Bulut’s murder prompted Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) to vow tackling the country’s domestic violence problem.

In the first six months of 2019, 214 women in Turkey were killed by men, while 440 women were killed last year, according to the women's rights group We Will Stop Femicide.

 This figure is up from up from 409 women in 2017 and 121 in 2011.