Turkish Family Ministry petitions access ban to news on woman killed by husband

Turkey’s Family, Labour and Social Services Ministry has appealed to courts to ban access to news stories detailing the murder of a Kurdish woman at the hands of her husband last week, daily Evrensel reported on Friday.

The ministry’s provincial directorate in the eastern Muş province moved to ban several stories on the killing of Fatma Altınmakas, including an interview with the victim’s brother, citing their possible negative impact on the mental well being of children.

Altınmakas’s brother, Mir Bedirhan Ayaz, told reporters that the woman’s death could be due to societal pressure her husband faced after word got out that his brother had sexually assaulted Altınmakas.

“It must be stressed that femicides in Turkey are political,” Ayaz said. “When women are subjected to injustice and speak out, society’s view of women leads to their death.”

Reports on Turkish media said Sinan Altınmakas, Fatma Altınmakas’s brother-in-law, had been detained on charges of sexual assault, but was released two days later due to insufficient evidence.

Reports by the pro-Kurdish Mezopotamya Agency said Altınmakas had testified in Kurdish about the sexual assault because she did not speak Turkish, citing the woman’s brother and lawyer.

According to a lawyer, Altınmakas had testified in Kurdish and her testimony was translated by a non-professional, leading to an inadequate narration.

The Muş governorate denied the claim, saying the woman testified in Turkish and did not ask for a translator, Evrensel said.

Bruising on the woman’s body due to battery and sexual assault were only recorded via a doctor’s note.

The ministry also appealed to Twitter to ban a hashtag used to call attention to the murder, #FatmaAltınmakasaSesOl (“lend your voice to Fatma Altınmakas”), Evrensel reported, but Twitter has not issued a ban yet.

Altınmakas was killed by her husband Kazım Altınmakas on July 14, two days after the couple went to the gendarmerie together to report the sexual assault. The husband has since been arrested on charges of first-degree murder.

The couple had six children together, and the 32-year-old woman was pregnant with the seventh.