A teenage girl sexually abused by a relative who thought she had found happiness with an older man who she agreed to marry was killed by him after he suspected her of flirting with other men.
Tragic Turkish girl Nuray Demir, 17, was found naked on a bed in a hotel room by staff, and a medical examination confirmed marks on her neck that indicated she had been strangled to death.
Her former fiance Taner Bektas, 30, was arrested and has now been handed down an aggravated life sentence for the murder of the 17-year-old girl in the hotel room on Adnan Menderes Boulevard, in the district of Muratpasa, in the Turkish province of Antalya, on 18th March.
Bektas, who was charged with “deliberately killing a child”, appeared before a judge at the Antalya 1st High Criminal Court via video link from prison. Nuray’s relatives and their lawyers were present in the courtroom, according to Turkish media.
The court heard that Nuray had been sexually abused by her mother’s cousin, named only as Birol K., on 18th January 2020.
While the investigation into that allegation was ongoing, Nuray was strangled to death in her ex-fiance’s hotel room.
He tried to claim it was self-defence because she had demanded he kill her abuser, and when he refused, she attacked him.
Bektas claimed at first: “She wanted me to kill Birol, who had sexually abused her before. She said that she would not marry me if I did not accept it. “
He claimed she had tried to choke him and added he had “started to choke her in the same way”.
He continued: “She could not resist me because she was weak. She was motionless. I kept squeezing until she died. When I realised that she was dead, I left the hotel and went to Yalova.”
Yalova is a seaside town located in north-western Turkey on the eastern coast of the Sea of Marmara.
Later in court, he appeared to change his story, saying as part of his final defence statement: “After meeting with the victim, everything was going well in the hotel room at first, and there was an argument because of her messaging and photos with other men. This incident occurred out of rage. I regret it.”
The judge gave Bektas an aggravated life sentence, which under Turkish law amounts to a minimum of 30 years behind bars.
The lawyers for the plaintiff, Emin Alper Tunga Torun and Emrah Taskin, made a statement together with Nuray Demir’s family after the trial. Taskin said: “The defendant has been given an aggravated life sentence with no reduction given. This trial was a trial that will set a precedent for similar lawsuits.”
Nuray Demir’s aunt Nur Cevik said: “We are very happy with the result. It will not bring our child back, but it will at least give us some relief to know that that person is also in prison with an aggravated life sentence. As long as there are such heavy penalties, I hope that these murders of women will decrease. We are happy with the decision.”
Nuray’s mother reportedly had a complete mental breakdown after her daughter’s murder, with Nur Cevik saying: “The mother’s health condition remains serious. She had a mental breakdown. She receives psychological treatment, but it is not enough.
“The mother has not learned the decision yet. I’ll call soon. She will relax a little bit, too. I’m sure she’s waiting by the phone. She’s in the hospital now. I would like to thank everyone who has been with us since the beginning of this ordeal.”
Femicide is a growing problem in Turkey, particularly after the country officially quit the Istanbul Convention in July last year.
According to the 2021 Annual Data Report announced by the ‘We Will Stop Femicide Platform’, 280 women were killed by men in 2021, while 217 women were found suspiciously dead.
According to data from the ‘Monument Counter’, which is “a digital memorial for women killed by violence” and is updated daily, 320 femicides have taken place in Turkey so far this year.