Public criticism has forced Turkey’s Board of Judges and Prosecutors (HSK) to delete a message of condolence it had posted on its website for a judge who killed his wife and then took his own life, the TR724 news website reported.
Serkan Tüzün, former head of the Alperen Ocakları, an offshoot of Turkish nationalist movement the Grey Wolves (Ülkü Ocakları) and the head of the Justice Ministry Support Services Department, shot his wife İlksen Tüzün to death over the weekend for unknown reasons and then killed himself.
Following Tüzün’s death, the HSK released a message of condolence on its website without any reference to his wife or what took place, sparking a barrage of criticism from journalists, women’s rights organizations and lawyers.
“Government policies are the reason for femicides,” tweeted Ali Yıldız, a Brussels-based Turkish lawyer who posted a screenshot of the HSK’s condolences for Tüzün.
Kadin cinayetleri politiktir. pic.twitter.com/rWAXuZy4Cz
— Ali Yıldız, Attorney (@aliyildizlegal) October 3, 2022
The HSK later deleted the message on its website.
Judge İsa Çelik, member of Turkey’s Supreme Court of Appeals, also expressed condolences for Tüzün. In addition, the Justice Ministry, which did likewise, said in a message that the ministry would arrange buses for staff members who want to attend Tüzün’s funeral in the southern province of Kahramanmaraş.
Meanwhile, a gag order was imposed on news about the murder after Tüzün’s mother-in-law told Turkish media outlets that her daughter had been suffering at the hands of Serkan Tüzün, who she said had psychological problems and was treating her daughter like she was an inmate in prison.
Femicides and violence against women are serious problems in Turkey, where women are killed, raped or beaten every day. Many critics say the main reason behind the situation is the policies of the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government, which protects violent and abusive men by granting them impunity.
According to the We Will Stop Femicide Platform (Kadın Cinayetlerini Durduracağız Platformu), 280 women were murdered in Turkey in 2021.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan sparked outrage in Turkey and the international community after he issued a decree in March 2021 that pulled the country out of an international treaty that requires governments to adopt legislation prosecuting perpetrators of domestic violence and similar abuse as well as marital rape and female genital mutilation.
The Council of Europe Convention on Preventing and Combating Violence against Women and Domestic Violence, better known as the Istanbul Convention, is an international accord designed to protect women’s rights and prevent domestic violence in societies and was opened to signature of member countries of the Council of Europe in 2011.
The AKP is also accused of taking the judiciary under its control and giving orders to judges and prosecutors to make politically motivated rulings. Turkey experienced a massive purge of civil servants following a failed coup in 2016 under the pretext of an anti-coup fight. More than 130,000 public servants, including 4,156 judges and prosecutors, have been removed from their posts. The purge of judges and prosecutors led to even more politicization of the judiciary, say many, since their positions have been filled by AKP cronies as well as those of its election partner, the far-right Nationalist Movement Party (MHP).