Horrific murder of Turkish girl reflects distorted notions of honour

The hole where a 16-year-old girl was buried alive by her relatives in Adiyaman, southeastern Turkey Photograph: HO/REUTERS (courtesy: The Guardian - report below)

Recently there was a report about the horrific murder of a Turkish girl, whose family buried her alive because she was talking to a boy. Turkey’s shame… but she’s not alone. Such incidents take place regularly in conservative, patriarchal societies that face all kinds of conflict in this day and age, among communities that have distorted notions of ‘honour’. ‘Honour killings’ take place in Muslim-majority Pakistan but similar stories also emerge from Hindu-majority India, where such murders take place among those belonging to the Hindu or Sikh faiths (often when the girl or boy involved belongs to a ‘lower’ caste), not just Muslims. I believe the issues are related to power and patriarchy. Religion is just a tool in that game, as are notions of ‘honour’. As I wrote when a similar case emerged in Pakistan (four women buried alive in Balochistan for wanting to marry of their own choice), there is no honour in killing. Below: text of the report that appeared in The Guardian, by Robert Tait in Istanbul, Feb 4, 2010:

Turkish girl, 16, buried alive for talking to boys

Death reopens debate over ‘honour’ killings in Turkey, which account for half of all the country’s murders Continue reading

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