Suspected murderer of trans rights activist arrested in Turkey

April 21, 2009

Pembe Hayat logoA week ago I wrote (link here) about the murder of trans rights activist Melek K at her home in Ankara, Turkey. Her death was the latest in a string of transphobic attacks on, and murders of, trans people in the country which has reached the epidemic proportions of a trans person being murdered every 15 days. The situation has reached such frightening levels apparently because of tacit condoning of the violence by the authorities.

Now it seems that, on Saturday, Melek K’s murderer may have been caught – although, given the state-sanctioned transphobia of the Turkish authorities, it is hard to believe that he will receive an appropriate penalty.

A man, T.P. (26), has been arrested for stabbing Melek K. at her home and killing her. He was caught in the Şereflikoçhisar district of Ankara on Saturday, 18 April.

Lawyer Senem Doğanoğlu, the lawyer assigned to the case, said that T.P. said that he had met Melek K. through a call girl, and that they had started arguing when he found out that she was transsexual. He claims that Melek pulled out a knife.

T.P. further said that after killing Melek, he looked for the money he had given her. When he could not find it, he took her mobile phone and her computer hard disk.

Doğanoğlu added, “How many more times will we listen to such a story? Will it again in a reduced sentence due to provocation?”

[…]

Lawyer Doğanoğlu said that the increase in violence in society was also felt by the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transvestite and transsexual community, with a murder being committed every ten or fifteen days. She said there were also unregistered murders.

(Via Bianet)

The similarities with the current trial of Allen Andrade for the murder of Angie Zapata are obvious and serve only to highlight the global nature of transphobic violence.

The Bianet article lists 10 murders that have been committed in the past six months, as follows:

On 10 November 2008, transsexual Dilek İnce was shot dead in Ankara.

On 19 December 2008, an unidentified transsexual was shot dead with two bullets through the chest at a roadside in Gebze.

On 10 March 2009, transsexual Ebru Soykan was stabbed to death at her home in Cihangir, Istanbul.

On 20 March 2009, transvestite L.D. (29) was stabbed in the stomach and wounded by three people in Eskişehir.

On 22 March 2009, the body of a transvestite, whose head and sexual organ had been cut off, was found in a rubbish container in Bursa.

On 27 March 2009, Yaşar Sert (35) killed Şükrü Gençer (57) for suggesting a sexual relation (Edirne).

In Istanbul, the bodies of Yaşar Mızrak (44), Mehmet Naci Zeyrek (30), Enes Arıcı (25) and Ercan Coşkun were found in a well. The murderer, Özkan Zengin, said he had killed them for being gay.

On 11 April 2009, Melek K. (25) was stabbed to death in her home in Ankara.

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