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Last Updated: Wednesday, 19 October 2005, 13:55 GMT 14:55 UK
'Honour' crime defiance in Turkey
By Sarah Rainsford
BBC News, Istanbul

Istanbul
Some Turkish men back gruesome punishments for women
A survey by a university in Turkey has shown almost 40% support for the practice of "honour killing".

The results come days after a court in Istanbul gave a life sentence for the murder of a girl by her brothers for giving birth to a child out of wedlock.

Turkish law, which used to be lenient on "honour crimes", was heavily revised as part of the country's preparation for EU accession proceedings.

Turkey has started talks with the EU but is not expected to join for years.

The survey was conducted in the conservative south-eastern city of Diyarbakir.

Disfigured

It questioned 430 people, most of them men. When asked the appropriate punishment for a woman who has committed adultery, 37% replied she should be killed.

Twenty-five percent said that she deserved divorce, and 21% that her nose or ears should be cut off.

The survey group was small but the results are a reminder that "honour killing" - a practice where women are murdered for allegedly bringing shame on their family - still has significant support in parts of Turkey.

There are no reliable statistics on how many women die this way, but Turkey has made major strides fighting such violence.

Research panel

Since the penal code was reformed last summer a man can no longer claim he was provoked as his defence. That used to lead to light sentences.

But last Friday a court in Istanbul sent a man to prison for life for murdering his sister in her hospital bed.

He shot her for giving birth to a child outside marriage.

And there is evidence the authorities here are committed to taking the reforms further.

A commission has just been established in parliament to research the whole issue for the first time. Its 12 members are expected to report back in December.


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