A woman whose body was burned and abandoned next to a cemetery has been found, days after she was reported missing by her family. Her murder has sparked outrage, many seeing it as a reflection of a growing trend of violence against women in the country.
Police have already arrested three suspects for the murder of Ozgecan Aslan, the twenty-year old woman. Her body was found in Tarsus district, in the south of the country, days after she was reported missing on Wednesday. The government has vowed that it will punish her murders and take affirmative steps to prevent similar incidents against women in the future.
Aslan has become a symbol for a growing voice against President Erdogan and his government for not doing enough to ensure the safety of women in the conservative country. According to initial reports, it is believed that Aslan fought a sexual assault after which she was murdered by the driver of the bus she was using to get home.
The first-year university student was found covered in gasoline, burned and dumped in a riverbed near a cemetery, according to a Mersin police statement. Her funeral was held in her hometown past Saturday, while scores of people staged demonstrations in Ankara and Istanbul. Protesters shouted "You will never walk alone," and "We will put an end to female homicides" as she was being laid to rest.
The demonstrators carried images of Aslan, as well as banners, vowing to revolt until such incidents came to an end. Some chanted: "We are here today. We revolt and we will continue to revolt until this stops". Many angered people have also expressed their outrage on Twitter, where the hashtag #OzgecanAslan continues to be used by hundreds every hour. An internet-based petition asking Turkish institutions to take responsibility for attacks such as that on Aslan have received over 600,000 signatures.
Erdogan's daughters, Sumeyye and Esra, visited Aslan's family Sunday to share in their sorrow, but according to Sumeyye, their "actual aim is for those murderers to be punished in an effective way".