Turkey's opposition party leaders criticized the government Tuesday for allegedly not doing enough to prevent violence against women.
They also criticized the ongoing debate about the death penalty in the country, which was ignited after the brutal murder of 20-year-old female university student, Ozgecan Aslan, who was killed and her body burnt after reportedly resisting sexual assault in Turkey’s southern Mersin province Friday.
"It seems that we forgot her death and have been discussing about the penalty. The main issue that we should be discussing is how to stop such incidents," Kemal Kilicdaroglu, chairman of the Republican People's Party told a meeting of his party's parliamentary group.
Referring to Aslan’s murder, Kilicdaroglu said it was a not a single event.
"Turkey has been turned into a semi-open prison," he said and added that women were not considered important in the country anymore.
He also strongly criticized the government's steps to improve women’s lives such as providing cash incentives to families to have more children, and encouraging them to have a natural birth, instead of C-section surgery.
He said that such decisions should not be the state’s official business, and accused the government of "feeding violence against women by interfering in everything."
He also alleged that the number of women killed between 2002 and 2015 increased during the ruling Justice and Development, or the AK Party’s term.
Nationalist Movement Party leader Devlet Bahceli told his party's parliamentary group meeting that violence against women had increased in the country over the last 10 years.
Bahceli also said he did not find the discussions on the death penalty sincere.
"Violence will not stop even with a death penalty unless a proper analysis is made on social and political atmospheres which create such violence," he said.
He accused the government of giving inferior treatment to women and undermining gender equality.
Co-chairman of the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democracy Party, Selahattin Demirtas, also stressed on the importance of gender equality at his party's parliamentary group meeting.
Demirtas termed Aslan's murder among the most brutal killing in Turkey.
He blamed the Ministry of Family and Social Policies for not doing enough to prevent violence against women and claimed that the ministry was not producing enough projects for women.
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