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Turkish soldier on trial for allegedly repeatedly raping a Kurdish teenager

THE trial of Turkish soldier Musa Orhan, accused of repeatedly raping Kurdish teenager Ipek Er, began in Siir yesterday.

He remained silent throughout the hearing “in order not to be disrespectful to Ipek’s memory,” his lawyer claimed, and the army sergeant did not enter a plea.

Ms Er died 20 days after she attempted suicide following her ordeal.

A letter written by the Kurdish teenager alleged that Mr Orhan held her captive for 20 days and repeatedly raped her. She wrote that he had told her he could act with impunity.

The case has caused outrage in Turkey, which has seen a worrying rise in femicide, rape and violence against women, with protesters calling on authorities to jail him. Campaigners have accused the state of protecting Mr Orhan.

Turkey’s opposition Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) has repeatedly accused the Turkish state of using rape as a “weapon of war,” particularly against the country’s sizeable Kurdish minority.

Speaking ahead of the hearing, Ankara Women’s Platform spokeswoman Fatma Kilicarslan said: “We want real justice, not male justice. We will follow this case until we get the necessary punishment,” she said.

The trial continues.

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