A man accused of murdering a well-known singer in Turkey defended himself in court by saying he killed her because she "insulted his masculinity", according to local media.
In the hearing on Tuesday, the defendant – identified only as CM – also told the court he killed 39-year-old Değer Deniz out of jealousy.
Deniz was a successful performer of rock and trip-hop who composed songs for television. She was found raped and murdered at her home in the neighbourhood of Taksim, Istanbul, on 5 May.
The 17-year-old suspect was originally identified by CCTV images.
According to Hurriyet Daily, the suspect said Deniz had been proposed to by another man. At the hearing in Istanbul's first Juvenile Court of Serious Crimes, he said: "I saw an engagement ring and asked what had happened. 'You were gone for 15 days. This is a present from a friend of mine,' she said. I got jealous. Her words hurt my virility. I could not resist killing her."
CM also told the court he was in a relationship with Deniz, something her family strongly denies. Deniz's father, Avni Deniz, said: "I believe my daughter was tortured and brutally killed."
The defendant claims he didn't rape Deniz, despite a forensics report finding his semen on her underwear.
In his original testimony, he claimed he entered her home to commit burglary, and killed her out of "panic". Deniz's family lawyer said they believe he has since changed his initial testimony in an effort to get a reduced sentence for "unjust provocation".
Deniz's brother, Orhan Deniz, who discovered her body, spoke of his grief outside the courtroom. He told reporters: "Every day we are faced with this kind of news. This is murder. In the male-dominated media, things are shown differently. At first, it was shown to be a case of robbery."
He added: "In our country, there are decreased sentences being given for 'good behaviour'. We are trying to prevent him from receiving such a sentence. Good behavior does not simply come from wearing a tie [to court]."
This is not the first time the murder of a woman in Turkey has sparked national outrage.
In February, the brutal killing of 19-year-old student Özgecan Aslan was a catalyst for Turkish people to protest violence against women.
Since then, a number of Turkish women have campaigned online to have the severity of femicide recognised by police forces and courtrooms. One group has created a digital wall to list victims' names and raise awareness of the Turkish women who have died violent deaths, many of whom are not reported on in local media. This year, it has counted 240 women who have been murdered by men.
Meanwhile, a number of groups – such as the Stop Women Homicides Platform, which was created after the murder of Özgecan Aslan – campaign against femicide and call for tougher sentences for perpetrators.
"Our society's desire for stopping femicide was manifested with the devastating loss of our sister, Özgecan," the campaign site's description reads. "People do not want to hear femicide news, which they watch on the TV every day. We fight against all types women's rights violations, starting with the violation of right to life."
Rossalyn Warren is a senior reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in London.
Contact Rossalyn Warren at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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