Gazi Baltacı (22) had been reported to the prosecutor’s office by the Yıldız family many times for harassing their daughter, Duygu Yıldız (19), when she ended her romantic relationship with Baltacı. On Wednesday, Baltacı stabbed Nejla Yıldız (40) and her son as they stood at a bus stop, killing the woman, who was employed as the correspondence affairs director for the Ankara 16th Court of Claims. Her son, Halil Yıldız (17), survived with a leg injury.
The young woman, Duygu Yıldız -- employed as a clerk at the Ankara 9th Court of First Instance -- was lucky and escaped the attack as she was late in leaving home and meeting her mother and brother. A report in the Milliyet daily yesterday said the mother and daughter had filed a complaint against Baltacı months before, saying they had been receiving death threats and that the police had simply released the young man after only a brief interrogation.
The tragic incident occurred in the Akdere area of Ankara on Wednesday. The police found that Baltacı had first attempted to use a 6.35 mm handgun but then used his knife when the gun didn’t fire.
Police have assigned bodyguards to the young woman following the murder. Baltacı is being held at the Dışkapı Yıldırım Beyazıt Research Hospital, where he was taken after attempting to take his own life.
According to the Milliyet daily, the suspect went to the courthouse where Duygu Yıldız was employed on Sept. 17. In her statement to the prosecutor, Yıldız said: “I told him I wanted to break up with him earlier this year. He told me that he would kill me if I did, and said all of Turkey would hear about this.
On Sept. 17, he slapped me at the courthouse.” Nejla Yıldız in her statement said: “He constantly harassed us. One time, he came to my father’s house. He openly threatened us, saying he would kill us all, me and my son.” The prosecutor’s office ordered that he be interrogated, after which Baltacı was released.
This is not the first time that the police have failed to protect potential victims of violence. Many others who have complained about threats from boyfriends or husbands have been left on their own with few or no attempts made to restrain the harasser.
What happens to women who complain?
On Aug. 17 of this year, a woman named Bahriye Aydoğdu filed a complaint about her former husband at a police station. She later told reporters: “He beat me all the time. Nobody at the police station cared. They were laughing. He insulted me in the police station in front of their eyes. They did not do a single thing.” Aydoğdu was the victim of a violent attack by her estranged husband, whom she had left after filing two reports with police. She was beaten by her husband less than 24 hours after her first complaint in broad daylight in the middle of the street after exiting the police station. She was hospitalized immediately. “Nobody cares; he beat me up in front of the police station. Nobody did anything,” she cried, as she later spoke with reporters.
The Prime Ministry issued a directive in 2006 calling for an enforcement of Turkish laws on the prevention of domestic violence. However, what often happens in practice does not match what is written in the law, and police officers frequently ignore their clearly stipulated legal responsibilities and send plaintiffs back to an unsafe environment where they can become victims of further violence. Many observers comment that the police forces’ handling of cases of domestic abuse reveals a disturbing tendency among law enforcement officials to heed their own traditional and patriarchal values rather than the law.
In July 2009, a woman named Canan Akbulut who was in the process of divorcing her husband said he pushed her off the balcony of her house. She had also turned to the authorities for protection. Her trial has still not ended, despite the testimonies of eyewitness who say they saw the woman being pushed by somebody behind her. The 24-year-old woman has recently tried to make a new life for herself, according to the Mor Çatı women’s organization, whose lawyers are now representing her family. The husband, Edip Akbulut, was released by the court due to insufficient evidence. According to experts, the problem is mainly due to police officers’ failure to obey the law. In most of these cases, they assert, it is the police officers’ negligence to act that is to blame for such incidents, although the wider responsibility to prevent violence against women lies with broader segments of society, including the media, bar associations, police, family courts, health workers, the Social Services and Child Protection Agency (SHÇEK) and local governments. However, women’s rights groups frequently emphasize that police officers must be given special training on Law No: 4320 on the Prevention of Domestic Violence if they are to learn how to do their job correctly.