Rojin, who hosted a talk show on the all-Kurdish TRT 6 station when it began broadcasting in January, has reportedly opened a court case against Turgut. She claimed that he used his column to attack her due to her ethnicity and gender.
Turgut later apologized on a TV program but not in his column. Instead, another writer from Akşam, Nagehan Alçı, claimed Turgut was joking but conceded that his humor was inappropriate.
However, Media Watch (Med-iz), a women’s organization working against sexism in the media, and experts on freedom of speech such as Kerem Altıparmak from Ankara University assert that Turgut’s article cannot be considered to fall within the limits of humor.
“Such a perverse approach does not deserve even an organized answer. There is nothing to say to Turgut, but we will ask the court to allow us to take part [in the case] since his article degrades all women in Turkey, and especially Kurdish women,” Melek Özman from Med-iz told Today’s Zaman.
Altıparmak, who is affiliated with the Ankara University Human Rights Research Center, also underlined that Turgut’s article cannot be considered merely a personal conflict since the article targets women who belong to an ethnic group.
“From the point of view of freedom of expression, the question that needs to be asked is, does this article justify the kidnapping of a Kurdish woman? The article suggests that any Kurdish woman, due to her ethnicity, is linked to the [outlawed] Kurdistan Workers’ Party [PKK] and that kidnapping her for sexual purposes would be justified. If you considered the present situation in Turkey, the danger is immediate,” Altıparmak told Today’s Zaman.
İlknur Üstün from the Association for Education and Supporting Women Candidates (KA-DER) said there are many rapists out there and that they sometimes use the media. “Such a mentality exists, and it might be impossible to get rid of it, but the question is, where do they find the courage to engage in such malicious behavior? How is it that newspapers dare to publish such articles? What means does the state have to protect women from attack by third parties?” Üstün told Today’s Zaman.