ZULFINAN BAYCINAR died from a bullet in her back. Her husband’s family went into mourning for the 27-year-old’s “tragic suicide”. She was very happy, they said, they can’t imagine what got into her.
But now Baycinar’s husband is on trial for murder. Prosecutors say she was killed because she dared to oppose against her husband’s wish to take a second wife, refusing to bow to tradition and know her place.
“This law is a real improvement, but we did worry that tougher punishments would lead to this and were watching out for increased cases of suicide,” said Zelal Ozgokce, founder member of Va-Kad, a new women’s association in Van, near the Iranian border.
She says that where once there would be the occasional whiff of suspicion surrounding a suicide, now she hears of odd cases almost every other day.
I've been to Van. I remember - how could I forget - the beautiful Van cats. Completely white, with different coloured eyes, these cats are gentle-natured, unlike most pedigree cats, and love swimming.
I saw a lot of them at a Research Institute, which was staffed by many women. It is hard sometimes to think that Turkey, which on the surface and in the big cities, is so secular, is a place where such primitive "family values" hold sway.