Human Rights

“We know Esra’s murderer!”

Monday, September 3, 2018

LGBTI+ human rights defenders commemorated murdered transwoman Esra Ateş: “When it comes to ban something, state authorities mobilizes any resources. However, are they so incapable that they cannot respond to the incident while a transwoman got murdered?”

Photo credit: Gülkan Noir

On August 25th, transwoman Esra Ateş was murdered as slitting her throat just in front of the apartment she lived in Beyoğlu, İstanbul. From the camera records, murderer got caught and arrested for robbery and murder. During his statement given to police, he tried to justify his act as: “I did not understand if she is a woman or a man.”

On 27th of August, her friends and LGBTI+ human rights defenders met to commemorate her in front of her house. Carrying her photos and hanging rainbow flags and transgender flags on her house, the group read a statement.

You may find the full text of the statement as follows:

“We know Esra’s murderer”

“We know that Esra’s murderer is the same with Begüm’s who was tortured and murdered in Bursa, the ones who slaughtered Hane Kader by burning her, the ones who forced Eylül Cansın to commit suicide and with the ones who cut Wisam Sankari’s head! We know that perpetrators of the transgender murders are emerged from the patriarchal, LGBTI+phobic and militarist system. We struggle against this system!

“We ask: When it comes to ban something, state forces mobilize any resources. However, are they so incapable that they cannot respond to an incident while a transwoman got murdered? Or do they just not want to protect sex workers? Are just the perpetrators guilty for these murders of sex workers who work every day and night on the streets without security? While state authorities place police forces on every corner of the central Istanbul during Pride Marches, why cannot they protect women, children and sex workers?

“While perpetrators of LGBTI+ murders are judged, sentence reductions given on the grounds of “unjust provocation” and “good conduct” strengthen the perpetrators and pave the way for the new attacks and murders!

“Transwomen are women! Confession of Esra’s murderer shows that transwomen are subjected to hate, violence and murder just because of their existence and identity. This confession shows that perpetrators use transwomen’s identity as the justification of their act and for good conduct reduction. We repeat that transwomen are women!

“As LGBTI+s and LGBTI+ human rights defenders, we do not accept the silence for murders of transwomen! Transwomen are forced to death and loneliness by patriarchal conservative system, to be exposed to hate speech by media, and to get isolated by the society. Without the liberation of transwomen, cisgender women cannot be liberated!

“Sex workers are workers! As any other workers, sex workers must have secure workplaces and work conditions. Unless the system forcing sex workers to be insecure will change, unjust acts in other sectors will not change! Attacks are part of whole, so struggle must be for everyone!

“We announce that we will keep following Esra’s murder. We are transwomen, prostitutes, workers and we are here! We will not leave!”

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