Outcry in Turkey as young woman murdered after attempted rape

Hundreds of women gathered in Istanbul’s Taksim square chanting slogans such as ‘You will never walk alone!’

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Women’s rights activists in Turkey took to the streets on Saturday in protest at the murder of a young woman after she resisted an alleged attempt to rape her, local media reported.

Hundreds of women gathered in Istanbul’s Taksim square chanting slogans such as “You will never walk alone!.”

The protesters also demanded that family and social policies minister Aysenur Islam, a woman, step down.

Police on Friday discovered the burned body of 20-year-old Ozgecan Aslan in a riverbed in southern Turkey.

She had been missing since Wednesday when she was reported to have boarded a minibus to go home, the Hurriyet newspaper reported.

Three suspects including the driver of the minibus were detained and are said to have admitted to having stabbed Aslan.

A motive for the alleged murder was not immediately clear but the private Dogan news agency reported that the driver attempted to rape Aslan after she was left alone in the minibus.

She resisted by spraying pepper gas at the driver who stabbed her to death, according to Dogan. The driver later sought help from two other people -- his father and friend -- to hide the body.

Kemal Kilicdaroglu, leader of the main opposition CHP party, wrote on Twitter: “There is no harassment, rape, violence in the nature of women! We will all together say ‘no’ to this mentality!”

The crime appears set to become a rallying cause for activists seeking to end violence against women in a country where hundreds of women are killed by their husbands every year.

In November, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan stirred controversy when he declared that women were not equal to men.

Erdogan has also drawn the ire of feminist groups for declaring that every woman in Turkey should have three children and with proposals to limit abortion rights and the morning-after pill.

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