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