Avcılar Meis sitesi

Killing a Trans is Reason for Reduced Sentences

Source: Burcu Karakaş, “Trans Öldürmek İndirime Gerekçe,” (“Killing a Trans is Reason for Reduced Sentences,”) milliyet, 3 June 2014, http://www.milliyet.com.tr/trans-oldurmek-indirime-gerekce–gundem-1892227

Soybozkurt, a felon who murdered a trans woman in Avcılar and for whom the prosecutor asked for a sentence of life in prison was given a reduced prison term of fifteen years.

Regarding the case of B.Ü., the trans woman beaten to death in 2013 in Avcılar (Istanbul), the court issued a reduced penalty on account of unjust provocation and good behavior. As the reason for the reduced sentence, the court cited the possibility that the felon’s statement might be true. The felon had claimed in his statement that “he beat the victim in anger because she was a transvestite and she propositioned him.”

Seda (B.Ü.), the trans woman, lived in her friends’ apartment at Avcılar Meis Housing Complex, which was the site of attacks against trans residents and where the apartments of trans residents were sealed for allegedly being used for prostitution. B.Ü. died after she was found beaten on the street on 01 March 2013. Ramazan Soybozkurt, who was tried for murder, claimed that he did not intend to murder the victim, but he beat her upon getting upset by her proposition.

The verdict was issued on February 26, 2014 after the trial at the Bakırköy Fourth Criminal Court for Aggravated Crimes. The verdict cited as the reason for the reduced sentence the victim “being a transvestite.” The convicted felon Soybozkurt was given a reduced sentence due to provocation taking into account that “his statement might be true.” His sentence was reduced from life in prison to eighteen years; his prison term was further reduced to fifteen years for “good behavior.”

“They think it is entirely reasonable”

Fırat Söyle, the lawyer, reacted to the verdict by calling attention to other similar court verdicts for trans murders. He stated: “This is a verdict far from justice. The felon’s statement is not an unheard of defense. Courts find such statements as “they propositioned,” or “they propositioned for anal sex;” “I thought they were a woman” all as entirely reasonable defenses that warrant reduced sentences. If the murderers do not confess to their crimes, it is even possible that they may be acquitted.”

Vested interests behind hate directed at trans women in Meis Housing Complex

“Stories of Violence from Turkey” is a project by the Intercultural Research Association that aims to archive and document the phenomenon of violence in Turkey; to prevent events of violence and their victims from “becoming ordinary” and “turning into statistics;” to investigate the conditions of violence in order to make future projections; and to bring together NGOs, civil society, and advocates for the defense of victims’ rights. The project publishes photographs and interviews with victims or witnesses in a simple and flexible format that allows the interviewees to express themselves.

Source: Cankız Çevik, “Meis Sitesi’nde translara yönelen nefretin arkasında rant var,” (“Vested interests behind hate directed at trans women in Meis Housing Complex,”) Türkiye’den Şiddet Hikayeleri, 18 December 2013, http://www.siddethikayeleri.com/meis-sitesinde-translara-yonelen-nefretin-arkasinda-rant-var/

Since June 2012, trans people living in Istanbul Avcılar district’s Meis Housing Complex have been the targets of enormous harassment. Meis resident and journalist Michelle Demishevich talks to Stories of Violence from Turkey about the lynching atmosphere created by the crowds who organized to kick trans women out of Avcılar and the violence based on morality and mass hate.


The Hearing on the Attacks on Trans People’s Right to Housing Postponed

Source: Kaos GL, “Transların Barınma Hakkına Saldırı Davasında Erteleme,” (“The Case on the Attacks on Trans People’s Right to Housing Postponed,”) 18 December 2013, http://kaosgl.org/sayfa.php?id=15429

The lawsuit filed for the attacks on trans people’s right to life and right to housing in Avcılar’s Meis Compound was postponed until 21 April 2014. Though there is no decision of confidentiality on the file, the judge forced LGBTI activists and the media to leave the courtroom.

In the last days of September 2013, Meis residents verbally and physically assaulted trans residents because of their gender identity and organized walks with torches. Kanaltürk’s “Neşter” (“Scalpel”) TV program aided the hate group.

Lawyer Rozerin Kip, representing the assaulted trans women, stated that 9 homes of trans women were sealed with the allegation of prostitution. The suspects in the Meis case are residents in the Meis and surrounding compounds.

More on the case: Avcılar-Meis Housing Complex: Violation of the Right to Housing