Çingene Gül, Trans Woman, Murdered in Istanbul

Source: Çiçek Tahaoğlu, “Trans Çingene Gül Öldürüldü,” (“Çingene Gül, Trans Woman, Murdered in Istanbul,”) bianet, 9 October 2014, http://www.bianet.org/bianet/lgbti/159065-trans-cingene-gul-olduruldu#

Çingene Gül, a trans woman, was found dead in her Istanbul apartment on October 8. While the autopsy is yet to be completed, it is suspected that she was murdered two days ago because her friends didn’t hear from her for two days.

Her neighbor Melek Emir said,  “Two nights ago, I heard noises from the apartment building. Gül never makes noise. At first, I thought somebody was trying to break in, then I heard the door open and close. I supposed Gül couldn’t find her keys or something. I never reckoned such a thing would ever happen.”

Gül’s street is crowded with police officers investigating the events and onlookers after her friends found her body. All the women in the neighborhood recognize Gül. “She smiled all the time, she would greet everyone on the street. She wouldn’t disturb anybody.”

Gül’s trans friends argued with the police in order to see her one last time. Police said they could do so in small groups provided that they wouldn’t cry out, touch her or bring disorder to the crime scene.

Her friends claim that trans sex workers are usually murdered by their clients – which they think was also the fate of Gül. They also said Gül didn’t receive customers in her apartment and preferred to use hotels or other venues. They also brought up the possibility of burglary. However, police said that it was not possible to know that at the time.

Utku who found Gül’s body and said, “I went to her apartment after not hearing from her. I knocked on the window, I tried the doorbell, but she didn’t respond. Then her upstairs neighbor buzzed me into the building. I had to break into Gül’s apartment via the backyard. She wasn’t in her bedroom. When I went to the living room, I saw her lying on the floor and I ran away screaming.”

Taxi drivers also recognize Gül. “She was a regular customer,” they said. One driver said: “Gül was a good person and a good customer. It cost 7 liras to go to Tarlabaşı, she would always pay 10. We kicked our heels a lot. There are a lot people who do her [sex worker] profession in Kurtuluş. Those who call us after midnight usually do this job. But I never saw somebody enter her apartment before, she would always return alone.  Doesn’t she have a boyfriend? Maybe he was jealous?”

“We were only know that someone has died. She was murdered with a sharp object. She had cuts on her face and body,” said the police.

There are two security cameras located in the building adjacent to Gül’s  apartment. However, neighbors claimed that they were out of order. Some women also complained about thefts in the neighborhood. They want to see the cameras functioning again; “We could know who the murderer was if they worked.”

“Even if caught, the perpetrator will serve 3-5 years”

Ebru Kırancı from Istanbul LGBTT emphasized impunity [in such cases]:

“Trans murders are political and the state is to blame. Because we know that even if the perpetrator is caught, he will only serve 3 to 5 years in prison. Just like in every murder, he will say ‘I didn’t know that she was a man’ and benefit from reductions. The real murderer is the state that doesn’t make laws to protect LGBTIs.”

On April 22, Çağla Joker (25) was murdered in Beyoğlu. Sevda Başar was murdered by her lover in Antep on February 19.

According to a report by Transgender Europe, between 1 January 2008 and 31 October 2013 1374 trans murders were committed in 60 countries worldwide. Turkey topped the list in Europe with 34 trans murders between 2008 and 2013.

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