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Turkish police attack mourners at funeral of Kurdish teenager who was allegedly kidnapped and raped by a Turkish soldier

TURKISH police attacked People’s Democratic Party (HDP) MP Sidik Tas and others yesterday while blocking mourners from attending the funeral of a Kurdish teenager who was allegedly repeatedly raped by a soldier.

The woman, known only as IE, died on Tuesday in hospital, where she had been admitted after attempting suicide last month following her ordeal, allegedly at the hands of Sergeant Musa Orhan in Batman province in Turkey’s largely Kurdish southeast.

Sgt Orhan was detained briefly after the allegations were made but released on a judicial control order soon afterwards.

The Turkish soldier initially denied the charges but changed his story after a forensic report concluded that IE had been raped, claiming to have been “intoxicated.”

The handling of his case has triggered further outrage from women’s organisations and the HDP, which has warned that the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) is using rape as a “weapon of war.”

The hashtag #MusaOrhanTutuklansin was trending in Turkey yesterday alongside demands for the soldier’s immediate arrest.  Mr Ohan has since been taken into custody after handing himself in following the mass protests.

IE’s body was finally handed over to her family at 3am yesterday morning and she was buried in a Batman province cemetery, where there was a heavy police presence.

Officers blocked mourners from attending the funeral and set upon Mr Tas, who had intended to pay his respects along with other parliamentarians and representatives of human-rights and women’s organisations.

HDP MP Feleknas Uca said: “Everyone was punished, but the rapist is still free and protected. We won't be silent without you taking account of your mother's pain and tears.”

At a demonstration in Ataturk Square yesterday evening, HDP MP for Batman Ayse Acar Basaran, who is also chair of the party’s women’s commission, said they were “the voices of all women murdered by the state.”

A letter from IE seen by the Morning Star details the horror of her ordeal, with claims she was kidnapped, threatened and raped by Sgt Orhan over a 20-day period.

He allegedly told her nothing would happen to him and nobody would believe her story.

“He destroyed my dreams, my life, my hopes … my world,” the Kurdish teenager wrote, saying she wished she was dead.

IE’s death comes amid a rising tide of femicide in Turkey, which plans to withdraw from the Istanbul Convention, a 2011 treaty obliging signatories to tackle gender-based crime, provide protection and services for women and ensure that perpetrators are prosecuted.  

It is estimated that 3,000 women have been murdered since the AKP came to power in 2002.

The Kurdistan Solidarity Campaign has launched a petition calling for an end to violence against women. It can be signed at http://mstar.link/defendwomen

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