Honor Killings in Turkey

By Seher Cesur-Kılıçaslan.

Published by The International Journal of Interdisciplinary Cultural Studies

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Article: Electronic $US5.00

The concept of honor is very important for an individual’s integration into a group. A person’s failure in this area causes her to feel ashamed and lose status. Honor permeates the common values and norms which determine relationships in a society. According to an ancient Turkish proverb, extramarital sexual intercourse is “like mud on a woman’s face and like henna on a man’s hand.” The traditional punishment for women who have the “mud” on their faces referred to in this proverb, one which is not accepted to be marginal in the social perception, is generally death. Today, high number of murders committed due to this point of view in Turkey and the steps for preventing them are being discussed. Murderers who commit honor killings in Turkey generally emphasize the traditions of their tribes and do not use a religious discourse. The incidences in which men are killed are more unusual, and according to Islam, the man that takes part in fornication should be stoned to death along with the woman. However this rule was not practiced in either today’s Turkey or even in the Ottoman Empire, which was ruled by sultans who claimed to be caliphs of all Muslims. This fact supports the idea that religion is not the main reason for honor killings. According to the former Turkish Penal Code (TPC), the punishment of a person could be reduced due to provocation if he murders someone for his honor because of the social pressure created by the concept of honor. Thus, his punishment could be smaller than the punishment of a person who committed a murder in another way. Today, there is no punishment reduction due to provocation, according to the new Turkish Penal Code which was put into force for conformity with the European Union.

Keywords: Honor Killings, Ethics Killings, Turkey, Honor, Moral Killings

The International Journal of Interdisciplinary Cultural Studies, Volume 7, Issue 3, pp.27-34. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 403.459KB).

Assist. Prof. Dr. Seher Cesur-Kılıçaslan

Assistant Professor Doctor, Department of Social Work, Health Sciences School, İstanbul Arel University, Büyükçekmece, İstanbul, Turkey

Dr. Cesur-Kılıçaslan received her Ph.D. in 2006 from Hacettepe University. She also received her M.D. (2001), and B.S. (1997) from Hacettepe University. Dr. Cesur-Kılıçaslan is vice director of School of Health Sciences and head of department of Social Work at İstanbul Arel University. Her areas of expertise include: immigrant families, refugee families, refugee women, women, family structure, immigration and emigration. She has published in a variety of social science journals, including The International Journal of the Humanities and Ethnologia Balkanica. Some of her works’ titles are: “The Family Structure of the Bulgarian Immigrants and the Local Residents Living in İnegöl Region,” “The Problems of Refugee Women,” “The Effects of Immigration and Emigration on the Family Structure in Turkey” and “Families Immigrating from Bulgaria to Turkey since 1878.” Her interests include reading, writing children tales, and walking.