Honor Killings are Illegal? Turkey Resorts To Honor Suicides For Women

kurdish woman behind bars

First, let's talk a little about Turkey.

Turkey is a secular democracy with no state religion. It's a developed country and a regional power with close relationships to many other countries. The people are educated with a good life expectancy of 73 years. The men are better educated than the women but school is free and compulsory from ages 6-15. The reason there is a discrepancy for women is because in the southeastern provinces, Kurds and Arabs hold their traditional customs.

There is no state religion in Turkey and their constitution provides the freedom of religion and conscience but does not promote a religion. But here's where things go downhill. 99% of the country is muslim. There are a few minority religious there too, and about 3.2% are irreligious or atheists. A poll in 2002 reported that 65% of the people believe "religion is very important." Another poll in 2005 found that 95% of the citizens believe "there is a god."

Here's where it gets sickening. Honor killings in Turkey have been getting more common. The government estimated them at about 200 a year, half of all the murders committed in the country. So in 2005 Turkey changed the law so that honor killers would receive a life sentence instead of being able to get a reduced sentence, claiming provocation. Still, there is now about one honor killing a week in Istanbul, so it's spreading into the modern cities as well.

Now a new phenomenon is brewing - honor suicides. Women are told to kill themselves so that no one has to go to prison for life for murdering them.

Honor is very important to these barbarians in the southeast (Kurdish region) of Turkey. Any kind of dishonor is seen as a stain that can only be cleansed by death. A woman can be sentenced to death by her family for slights as minor as wearing tight clothes or talking to a man who is not a relative. She is either murdered by the youngest member of the family (in the belief that they'll be treated more leniently if caught), or she is locked in a room until she kills herself. She is usually given the option of shooting herself with a gun, hanging herself, or rat poison.

In prison, honor killers are treated with respect, even by the guards. Most honor killings aren't properly investigated because a lot of police and prosecutors feel the same way as the killers.

This is the barbaric effect of patriarchal religion holding back society to the bronze or iron age mindset. Imagine what it's like in even less developed countries that we hear little about, not influenced as much by modern society and culture. This is why I rail against religion so vehemently. Learning of such ridiculous inhumanity in the name of  "honor" is just another reason to counteract such savagery with education, science, reason and logic.

It seems like this happens in another world, doesn't it? Removed from our "cultured" societies where our biggest concern in a day is which fast food place to get our dinner from, or what to wear when we go out to the local bar on a Friday night. (Not that I do either of those things, but hey, at least I can if I want to, all by myself, and talk to men that are not my relatives without being forced to kill myself with rat poison later).

It would do well to pay attention to the world though. In European countries islamic law is being forcedly incorporated into European and UK law. In the UN, recently I remember reading that they've proposed a resolution that would define any questioning of Islamic dogma as a human rights violation, intimidate dissenting voices, and encourage the forced imposition of Sharia law. Hopefully sense will make the resolution fail, but really, when such things are being proposed, collectively we all need to be watchdogs.

In America the threat of islamic incursion seems so remote, but Europe is struggling with such human rights issues all the time, from what I have followed.

We can't be any more complacent though, here in the land of the religious right, where science is the handiwork of the devil himself and people honestly believe that jesus was born of a virgin in a manger, and rose from the dead to save us from our sins because a talking snake tempted Eve in the garden of eden. I won't even go into how silly that is. What's important is that even though the political regime has changed here, we're certainly not off the hook.

While our new president seems to embrace science and technology in a way that should make us all happy, and while he also threw us a bone in the inauguration, acknowledging that atheists exist, he is still quite willing to blur the line of the separation of church and state even further in many issues. Our apathy and complacency could very well cause us untold continued loss of freedoms. We just don't know, but let's not find out the hard way. (For example, keep an eye on Joshua DuBois, the pentecostal minister who is head of the Office of Faith Based and Neighborhood Partnerships in Obama's administration.)

I know, I'm all doom and gloom today. But sometimes we have to look behind the veil and take off the rose colored glasses. We can't all fight every battle. But please, at least be educated and informed about what's going on in the world, right under your nose as well as on the other side of the planet. Ignorance and apathy are very deadly sins.


  1. Agree ,Neece,horrible religious brainwashed murderers but you've targeted Turkey,where compared to the other 99% Muslim countries is an oasis of rationality.Attaturk in the early 20's was so far-sighted and secular thinking that he,as first president of modern Turkey,separated church and state.I believe they are BETTER separated than us.Veils are not allowed in the chambers ,I believe.It's been an irony that despite 99% Muslim ,the concepts of education for women,freedom of dress,and no religion in the governig -especially since they originate fron the revered Attaturk,continue to be pillars of Turkish culture.Rural folk,as everywhere,are more "traditional"/conservative/fundamental .There ,as elsewhere,the fundies have grown and become more powerful and troublesome,to put it mildly.When I was in Afganistan the 'funs'(hey! I just invented a way of mentioning 'them' without having to spit out fundalmentalists...or -ugh-fundies...)were rare......all Afgans I met were welcoming,warm,willing to speak freely of their religion and allow me any of my choice;we talked politics,philosophy,government late at night in the pharmacy in Herat ;it seemed there were old ways forming most structure of society ,but I saw an exploring small middle class.......it changed when the Taliban gained power(it would be as if Jerry F. and friends were politically in majority here).That all is not to say Turks ,Afgans, and others (including Americans) don't have stoneage traditions they believe right : BECAUSE THEIR RELIGION TELLS THEM SO .....and thats the fight you and I see......
    It's tough,though,cause one may ask how compassionate can/should you be to someone who grew up believing killing his raped sister is honorable.....is 'he' at fault?....If I were king I would make handbooks on killing neighbors illegal (sorry,christians,muslims,and jews!!!-find a better book,eh?
    Neece,good job and excuse my neophyte straying from the topic;g'nite.

  2. Horrible. Just horrible.

    Honor suicides? There's no honor there at all. It's just a horse of a different color.

  3. God says kill yourself because you aren't doing what ancient goat herders said you should do. Bad woman!

  4. Well, I imagine that after a few days locked in a closet without food or water, accompanied by a gun, rope or pills my male relatives have thoughtfully provided I might be hearing god telling me to kill myself too.

    Oh, wait. That's just my male relatives talking.

    Man, this is a disturbing trend.

  5. Horrible truley horrible. It's insane what people will do in the name of god, religion.

  6. I know. Just because you use a word like honor doesn't make it so. It's just murder, plain and simple. Barbaric!

  7. Hi Rev. Tim, I only targeted Turkey because that's where the news article was from. I also wanted to make clear that this is happening in a secular state that is really the most modern of the islamic countries. Which just makes it more disturbing, if you ask me.
    I hear what you're saying, though. Who is to blame for believing such stupid stone age beliefs? That's a tough one. Sigh... It certainly is a mess, this religion nonsense.

  8. I know, Colleen, it's sick what people let religion do to them.

  9. I wholeheartedly agree. I have run out of words to express my disgust at this barbarism. :(

  10. this kind of behavior is outrageous, fair enough there are certain guidelines by which particular religions have to abide by for example Islam, but this does not mean this religion allows or condones these barbaric acts. Nowhere in the Qu'ran does it state you are allowed to kill someone.

  11. Some verses from the Quran:

    2:191 And slay them wherever ye find them, and drive them out of the places whence they drove you out, for persecution is worse than slaughter. And fight not with them at the Inviolable Place of Worship until they first attack you there, but if they attack you (there) then slay them. Such is the reward of disbelievers.

    2:216 Warfare is ordained for you, though it is hateful unto you; but it may happen that ye hate a thing which is good for you, and it may happen that ye love a thing which is bad for you. Allah knoweth, ye know not.

    4:15 As for those of your women who are guilty of lewdness, call to witness four of you against them. And if they testify (to the truth of the allegation) then confine them to the houses until death take them or (until) Allah appoint for them a way (through new legislation).

    4:34 Men are in charge of women, because Allah hath made the one of them to excel the other, and because they spend of their property (for the support of women). So good women are the obedient, guarding in secret that which Allah hath guarded. As for those from whom ye fear rebellion, admonish them and banish them to beds apart, and scourge them. Then if they obey you, seek not a way against them. Lo! Allah is ever High, Exalted, Great.

    4:79 Whatever of good befalleth thee (O man) it is from Allah, and whatever of ill befalleth thee it is from thyself. We have sent thee (Muhammad) as a messenger unto mankind and Allah is sufficient as Witness.

    4:89 They long that ye should disbelieve even as they disbelieve, that ye may be upon a level (with them). So choose not friends from them till they forsake their homes in the way of Allah; if they turn back (to enmity) then take them and kill them wherever ye find them, and choose no friend nor helper from among them,

    5:33 The only reward of those who make war upon Allah and His messenger and strive after corruption in the land will be that they will be killed or crucified, or have their hands and feet on alternate sides cut off, or will be expelled out of the land. Such will be their degradation in the world, and in the Hereafter theirs will be an awful doom;

    5:45 And We prescribed for them therein: The life for the life, and the eye for the eye, and the nose for the nose, and the ear for the ear, and the tooth for the tooth, and for wounds retaliation. But whoso forgoeth it (in the way of charity) it shall be expiation for him. Whoso judgeth not by that which Allah hath revealed: such are wrong-doers.

    5:51 O ye who believe! Take not the Jews and the Christians for friends. They are friends one to another. He among you who taketh them for friends is (one) of them. Lo! Allah guideth not wrongdoing folk.

    9:5 Then, when the sacred months have passed, slay the idolaters wherever ye find them, and take them (captive), and besiege them, and prepare for them each ambush. But if they repent and establish worship and pay the poor-due, then leave their way free. Lo! Allah is Forgiving, Merciful.

    33:60 If the hypocrites, and those in whose hearts is a disease, and the alarmists in the city do not cease, We verily shall urge thee on against them, then they will be your neighbours in it but a little while. Those who oppose Islam will be slain with a fierce slaughter.

    33:61 Accursed, they will be seized wherever found and slain with a (fierce) slaughter.