Outrage in Turkey over reduced sentence granted to Pınar Gültekin's murderer for ‘unjust provocation’

A Turkish court has used the provision of “unjust provocation” to reduce the jail term of Cemal Metin Avcı who brutally killed Pınar Gültekin back in 2020 and then burned her body. The court's decision on June 20 stirred huge reaction among women organizations, political parties, and public figures.

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A Muğla court on June 20 reduced an aggravated life sentence jail term to 23 years in prison for Cemal Metin Avcı who brutally killed Pınar Gültekin in June 2020. 

The court decided to reduce the aggravated life sentence of Avcı due to "unjust provocation" and acquitted his brother Mertcan Avcı, his mother Ayten Avcı, his father Selim Avcı, his ex-wife Eda Karagün and his friend Şükrü Gökhan Orhan at the final hearing.

Gültekin's death had made the headlines in 2020 with its gory details. The young woman's ex-boyfriend Avcı initially denied committing the murder but later confessed to the crime as a footage showed him near the site of the murder. After brutally killing her, the murderer placed her body in a barrel, set fire to her and then poured concrete in. Avcı was believed to have received the help of his family in these actions, but no family members were found guilty. 

The court's decision on June 20 stirred huge reaction among women organizations, political parties, and public figures.

The lawyer of the Gültekin Family, Rezan Epözdemir, criticized the reduction and said “What a shame. This is a legal freak. Justice died in Muğla today… This murderer will be released from prison after 14 years and 4 months if the decision is finalized like this."

"As a lawyer of the grieving family whose daughters were burned to death and most of all, as a lawyer, I am ashamed of this decision.”

Women and Democracy Association (KADEM), of which President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's daughter Sümeyye Erdoğan Bayraktar is the deputy chair, released a statement on the decision on social media.

“Justice was not served this time. In this brutal event, the application of unjust provocation reduction, based on the statements of the accused, damaged the sense of justice of society. There is no unjust provocation to intentionally killing with a monstrous feeling, it can't be! We will follow the judicial process from now on as we have done so far,” the statement said.

Turkey’s popstar Tarkan said on Twitter: “We want justice for all women who have suffered murder, bullying and violence. Heavy and deterrent punishments should be given to reduce these crimes. The law should not be on the side of men, but on the side of justice and right.”

Criticizing the defenses and accusations made for the reduction, the chairwoman of the Turkish Federation of Women’s Associations (TKDF), Canan Güllü said: “Women are killed in this country. The judges who made these decisions need to make up their minds now. This woman was murdered. This woman was killed while she was alive, by being burned, strangled, beaten. It's enough.”

We Will Stop Femicides Platform General Secretary Fidan Ataselim said that this decision will encourage all the men who killed women. “This decision gave us an idea of how these cases will proceed after the decision to withdraw from the Istanbul Convention,” she said. 

Meanwhile, after the decision of the court, women organizations called for protests. 

As per the call of Women Together Strong, the women came together in the Aegean province of İzmir and protested against the decision.