Video of brutal murder highlights Turkey’s femicide crisis

Screen grab of Emine Bulut video
Screen grab of Emine Bulut video

Emine Bulut was killed by her ex-husband Fedai Baran in broad daylight in a café in Kırıkkale, a town in Turkey’s Central Anatolia region. People across Turkey have reacted with shock and horror to a video of the fatally injured Bulut that has been circulating online. Now, many are using the hashtag #EmineBulut to call for urgent action to tackle the issue of femicide and violence against women in Turkey, a country where more than 220 women have already been murdered this  year.

The video of Emine Bulut starts just moments after her ex-husband Fedai Baran stabbed her and fled the café in a taxi. The video shows Bulut and her 10-year-old daughter, who witnessed the murder.

Bulut’s shirt is soaked in blood.

"I don’t want to die! I don’t want to die!”, she repeats.

"Mama, please, don’t die", cries her daughter.

Bulut later succumbed to her wounds in hospital.

Baran was later taken into custody in the Bahsili district and placed into pre-trial detention by a judge. During his initial court hearing, Baran said that he had stabbed Bulut after an argument.

"We were talking about our daughter’s custody and she insulted me, so I stabbed her with a knife that I had brought,” he told the court.

The prosecution has called for a life sentence.

In the wake of Bulut’s death, social media in Turkey has been buzzing with conversations about the country’s high rate of violence against women. Close to a million tweets using the hashtag #Emilie Bulut have been posted. Bulut’s last words also sparked another hashtag, #Ölmekistemiyoruz, which means "we don’t want to die".

Turkish actress Hazal Kaya tweeted: "It’s not family that’s sacred, it’s human life! It’s not divorce that we should be working to prevent but femicides! And if it is a case of male terror then we need to call it male terror. We’ve lost too many women to keep on debating. I’m devastated by the tears of this little girl. Stop femicide, now!”

Tweet from the union of journalists: "We invite all of our colleagues to engage in ethical journalism, not just click bait, so that the voices of women saying, ‘We don’t want to die’ can really be heard.”


The mayor of Istanbul responded to the incident on Twitter.


"’I don’t want to die’ was the cry of all murdered women. 'Mama, please don’t die” is the tears of all orphans… We lost Emine Bulut because of male violence. We stand with women and children in the fight against violence and we will continue to do so.”


“Femicide happens to women from all different walks of life”

Melek Arimari, a member of the platform We Will End Femicide, says that the widespread outcry to the killing of Emine Bulut is testament to the growing movement to put an end to these crimes.

The murder of Emine Bulut exposed the real problem we have with femicide in our country. When a particularly brutal incident occurs, it sometimes pushes people to act. That’s what happened when Özgecan Aslan was killed in 2015. It was a turning point in the fight to end violence against women in Turkey.

Özgecan Aslan, a 20-year-old student, was raped and murdered on February 15, 2015 in a bus in Mersin by the driver, his father and his friend. Her charred body was found two days later in Tarsis, not far from where she was murdered. This tragedy sparked an unprecedented outcry across the country. The perpetrators were sentenced to life in prison.

Melek Arimari poursuit :

Özgecan’s murder helped to lift the shroud of silence around femicide. Turks now understand that this type of violence affects the whole society. It affects women from all backgrounds, poor, rich, atheist, religious and those from different political camps. This affects everyone, so we should all be working to stop this. That’s why there was such an outcry after Bulut was murdered.

"In most cases, the victims are killed by someone they know”

In spite of better media coverage of this issue, an increased number of campaigns to raise public awareness, and heavier sentences for perpetrators, there was a record number of femicides in 2018: 440 women were murdered. Out of those cases, 131 remain unsolved. Women were found dead near lakes, near dams and alongside roads. In most of these cases, the victims were killed by someone they knew: 35% by their husband or partner, 23% by another family member and 5% by an ex. Women aren’t even safe in their own homes.

In 2005, Turkish law was amended in an attempt to better protect women from violence carried out by friends or family. Under these changes, those convicted of "honor killings "-- when a relative kills a woman or girl who is perceived to have brought dishonor on the family-- are now given heavier penalties.

“We have the laws needed to protect women but we don’t apply them”

Arimari continues:

I think that modern Turkish women are paying the price for their emancipation. Society is evolving. The government needs to keep up with these changes, but it hasn’t done so.

The simple application of the Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence (called the Istanbul Convention), which was ratified by Turkey, as well as law 6284, which was adopted in March 2012 by the Turkish parliament, would be enough to drastically reduce these numbers. We have the laws needed to protect women but we don’t apply them. Misogynistic discourse is tolerated and many perpetrators are given reduced sentences.

By speaking out about the murder of Bulut, the Ministry of Family, Work and Social Services showed its engagement with the issue, but that’s not enough. It should speak out against all kinds of violence towards women in this country.

In 2009, when a 17-year-old Turkish girl named Munevve Karabulut was killed by her boyfriend, President Erdogan and the former chief of police in Istanbul blamed the victim’s family for letting her date him.

Article by Syrine Attia (@Syrine_Attia)