A SAT-7 women’s show host has made an impassioned call to Turkish authorities to protect women amid widespread outrage over the murder of a 27-year-old student.
The discovery on 21 July of the body of Pinar Gültekin and gruesome details of how her alleged killer tried to dispose of it have provoked fury in a country that, since 2017, has seen at least one woman murdered every day.
“It is as if we are in a war,” Şemsa Deniz Baker told viewers of the SAT-7 TÜRK weekday programme Homemade. “Women are being killed in their hundreds. Here, I really call out to government leaders, there are laws: please, we want these laws to be applied.”
She continued: “From here, as a woman, but most importantly, as a human being, I beg of you. I am struggling so much in speaking about this. Young people are taking their last breaths because they wanted to end a relationship, because they wanted to get a divorce. So many reasons come up, and not a day passes that our hearts don’t ache watching news of the murder of five, ten women. It’s not that we don’t want to see the news; it’s that we don’t want this news to happen. Stop these murders!”
Şemsa began by voicing SAT-7’s “deepest sorrow” to Gültekin’s family. Then, mindful of the 200 per cent increase in femicides in Turkey since 2013, she demanded an end to the violence that last year claimed 474 women’s lives.
“Please, the laws need to be implemented immediately,” she pleaded. “A woman can wear what she wants. She can be where she wants whenever she wants. You do not have the right to kill a woman. You have no right to kill anyone… We have a God who has created us. We have a God who has given us the breath of life, this body, this soul, this being, God has given it to us. We are under His authority. We do not have the right to kill one another, to slaughter one another, to be violent to one another.”
Şemsa’s programme is one of many SAT-7 series on the network’s Turkish, Arabic and Persian channels that seek to support women across male-dominated cultures in the Middle East and North Africa. It offers them a safe place to voice both their struggles and their victories and to help women and the men in their lives see their God-given dignity, value and potential.
“There is much work to be done,” says Nicoletta Michael, SAT-7 Development Manager. We are still hearing about millions of women in the region having their rights violated. It is imperative for organisations like SAT-7 to continue to educate, create awareness, and plant seeds of healthy values.”
Nevertheless, SAT-7 International CEO, Rita El-Mounayer, who, knows first-hand the challenges Middle Eastern women face, expressed a positive vision:
“Little by little we will see a change in the Middle East, through raising awareness of relevant issues and events, and supporting women across the region to see themselves through God’s eyes, reminding them of their value, and encouraging them to speak up for change.”