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Istanbul woman falls to death in suspected femicide

Seyda Yilmaz died after falling from the eighth floor of a building in Istanbul, Turkey, 30 September 2020 [haberciiiii008/Twitter]
Seyda Yilmaz died after falling from the eighth floor of a building in Istanbul, Turkey, 30 September 2020 [haberciiiii008/Twitter]

A woman in Istanbul has died after falling from the eighth floor of a building, leading many to suspect that her death was another of an increasing number of femicides in Turkey. Seyda Yilmaz was found dead in front of the 20-storey residential building in Istanbul’s Atasehir district on 17 September; her body was stripped of her clothing.

According to her family, Yilmaz’s death was not suicide and must have been murder. A friend of the woman said: “Şeyda was not someone who would commit suicide. She had a problematic marriage with her spouse and they broke up. She was a woman who could stand on her own feet and send her child to school. I definitely don’t think it is a suicide. It’s clearly a murder.”

The apartment that the municipal official was visiting in the building from where she fell, reportedly belongs to the suspect who runs a shisha cafe and an online news site. Identified only by the initials M.A.D. he was arrested and taken into custody by the police before being released on bail.

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The suspect is apparently no stranger to controversy in the building. His neighbours complained about him to the management company for “disturbing people” after moving into the apartment in March, the Turkish newspaper Hurriyet reported. He is also said to have posted pictures on social media of him holding guns.

Further evidence put forward for a murder case is that the windows of his apartment are only able to be opened 30 to 35 centimetres, making it difficult for a grown person to climb out and jump.

If Yilmaz’s death is indeed proven to be a murder, it would be similar to the well-known case of a 23-year-old university student who was pushed off the 20th floor of a skyscraper in the Turkish capital Ankara back in 2018.

The latest suspected femicide comes at a time when the murder of women and gender-based violence has become a fiercely debated topic over recent months, particularly after Turkey’s possible withdrawal from the Istanbul Convention against such attacks announced in August. The number of femicides has risen recently. In July, for example, Turkish woman Pinar Gultekin was killed by her ex-boyfriend and Merve Konukoglu was murdered by her father in June.

Such crimes sparked a huge social media campaign against femicide. According to Turkey’s “We Will Stop Femicides Platform”, at least 289 women have been killed so far in 2020.

Turkey: Femicide down 22% in first quarter of year

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