“Back up your husband and we will take care of you”

Source: Damla Yur, “Kocanı destekle biz sana bakarız,” (“Back up your husband and we will take care of you,”) Milliyet, 13 February 2014, http://m.milliyet.com.tr/News/Article?ID=1836005

Roşin Çiçek who lived in Diyarbakır, was killed in 2012 with the justification that he had homosexual tendencies. The court case resulted with his father and two uncles being sentenced to life in prison. The family’s conversation as they admitted to the murder during the court case was appalling.

Roşin Çiçek lived in Diyarbakır and he was killed in 2012 with the justification that he had homosexual tendencies. His struggle to survive, which was ultimately unsuccessful, was revealed among the statements and documents collected during the investigation. According to the documents in his file, the incidents proceeded as follows: Roşin was a young man with homosexual tendencies who was subjected to domestic violence. Roşin was not the only person in the family who had to put up with domestic violence; his three siblings and mother also suffered from time to time.

His mother (G.Ç.) and her four children took the first step to stand up to this violence in 2010. G.Ç. went to the police station with her kids, described the kind of violence they were being subjected to and demanded that they be placed in a women’s shelter. The mother and her four children provided battery reports and were sent to a family shelter. Then, upon learning that she would not be able to stay in the shelter with her four kids, G.Ç. gathered her family and moved to her mother’s house.

“I want to go to school”

After a while the mother and her children returned to their original home, which would begin the process that culminated in the death of Roşin Çiçek. Roşin was frequently subjected to his father’s verbal and physical attacks because of his sexual orientation. He was 16 in 2011 when he ran away from home for the first time because he could no longer put up with it. He took shelter in the police station. What he explained at the police station described his reasons for running away: “I have been subjected to violence by my own father Metin Ç. for ever since I can remember. My father beats me with sticks, hits me with his fists. He confronts me with knives. He sticks forks in my hands and legs.” Roşin Çiçek requested from the police that they send him to a state youth home. However, after a week, father Metin Ç. reclaimed his son from the rehabilitation center and brought him back home.

One and a half weeks later, Roşin Çiçek went to the police again and said, “My father said he brought me back so that [his] family would not be shamed. I absolutely do not wish to be sent back to live with my family. I want to live in a youth home and go to school. I do not bring charges against my father and I do not wish to sue him.” These were Roşin Çiçek’s final documented words in his struggle for survival.

Killed with a contact shot

About a year after, Roşin Çiçek’s name reappeared in police records, this time under “missing persons.” On July 1, 2012, father Metin Ç. arrived at the police station claiming that his son had gone missing. The next day, a severely wounded young person was found at the Diyarbakır Education and Research Hospital junction. He was Roşin Çiçek. He remained in the hospital for two days, battling for life and died. His autopsy report stated that “he was killed with a contact shot to head.”

As the denunciation reached the police, all eyes were turned to Roşin Çiçek’s father and two uncles. The informant affirmed that the young person had been chased by his father and uncles, first beat up and then executed in a car’s trunk. Upon this statement, the father Metin Ç. and the uncles Mehmet Alican Ç. and Şeyhmus Ç. were taken into custody. There were bloodstains in the car that belonged to one of the uncles and the murder weapon was found in one uncle’s home. However, neither family member admitted to the murder.

“Without you, we are one less person”

The video prepared by Hevi LGBT, featuring among others, Rakel Dink [founder of the Hrant Dink Foundation], İhsan Eliaçık of the Anti-Capitalist Muslims and the Saturday Mothers [who have gathered every Saturday in Istanbul for nearly 15 years to draw attention to their missing family members], called for everyone to follow the hearing and show loudly and clearly that Roşin Çiçek was not alone. The call was aired in Turkish, Kurdish, Armenian and Arabic where the rights defenders declared, “Without you, we are one less person.”

“They offered me a house”

The phone records in the court case file included conversations from November and December 2013 and January 2014. The uncles were heard saying, “We did not do anything. He’s Metin’s son. Metin killed him.” But then, the defense attorney requested earlier records, which were subsequently acquired for the case. Some of those records that are included in the file are as follows:

  • A. speaks with uncle Mehmet Alican Ç.: “The man said, I am sleeping with your child. When he said this is what I do to your honor, it is clearly severe provocation. I could not stop it. It happened as I was trying to scare my son. It happened the same way.”
  • E. speaks with father Metin Ç.: “We cannot bring ourselves to say who will claim this. So you do whatever is needed. It is better if only one of you go down rather than all.”
  • Mother G.Ç. speaks with uncle Mehmet Alican Ç.: “My mother is in a coma. She will die in a couple of days. They could have all died; I only want my son. Uncle Ç.: “No no, his destiny had been through.”
  • Mother G.Ç. speaks with father Metin Ç.: “They tell my father, do whatever you want and Metin will claim this.” “Your brother and Şeyhmus offered me a house. They said they would take care of me for all my life if I testified against you.” “Look Metin, you are the father, you will claim what you have not done.”

The father says, “I killed him”

The Roşin Çiçek court proceedings in Diyarbakır witnessed many “first”s as well as the father admitting to the murder. The court case lasted for about a year and a half and was concluded last Monday. The Diyarbakır Third Criminal Court for Aggravated Crimes convicted father Metin Ç. to aggravated life in prison and the uncles Mehmet Alican Ç. and Şeyhmus Ç. to life in prison.

As the case continued, anonymous witnesses first described people befitting the physical features of the father and the uncles. But after a few sessions, they changed their testimony to “I do not know anything.” The most critical hearing of the case was the session that took place on January 18, 2013. On that day, father Metin Ç. stated that he committed the murder and that his brothers were not guilty. At this same hearing the “Phone records during time in jail” that had been requested by the defense attorney revealed the negotiations that took place in the family.

“A case of ‘first’s”

The Roşin Çiçek court case constitutes a “first” in regards to various issues. Below are the “first”s in relation to Turkey and to Diyarbakır:

· For the first time in Turkey, an LGBT organization’s involvement was approved in a homosexual murder case. [to later be removed on 5 December 2013]
· For the first time in Turkey, a court indictment included the phrase “sexual orientation and gender identity.”
· For the first time in Turkey, no abatement was issued in relation to the judgment taken in a homosexual murder case, in accordance with the defendants’ request based on unjust provocation, incentives or good conduct.
· For the first time in Diyarbakır, nearly 70 people attended the court case of an LGBT murder (On the day of judgment a group of more than 30 representatives from LGBT organizations in İstanbul, İzmir, Adana, Antep, Mersin and Antalya came to Diyarbakır).
· For the first time in Diyarbakır, LGBT individuals from Diyarbakır gained visibility through this case and media support.

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