A gay teenager was allegedly murdered by his father and uncle in the Kurdish province of Diyarbakır, Turkey.
According to the local members of the LGBT community, the murder, which happened last month, only came to light recently as the boy’s rich and powerful tribal family attempted to cover it up.
The victim only known by his initials, R.A., 17, had allegedly been exposed to violence by his family because of his sexual orientation before seeking refuge at a friend’s house, according to a report cited by the Turkish daily Hurriyet.
R.A.’s uncle, however, forcibly removed the teenager from his friend’s house; later, the boy reportedly had an argument with his father, after which the latter allegedly shot his son 14 times before he and his brother deposited the body by the side of the road.
R.A.’s father and uncle were subsequently arrested for their alleged role in the murder.
Hurriyet spoke to a member of the local LGBT community who stated: ’The family wanted to cover up the murder which happened one month ago because they were a rich and powerful tribal family. They wanted the police to hide the incident.
‘We are subjected to violence, but there is no place where we can make a complaint or search for our rights. Police insult and swear at us, doctors make fun of us.’
Murders of Turkey’s LGBT community members by their own families have been reported in July and April this year. Such murders have been dubbed 'honor killings', as the family prefers to kill a member who is LGBT for the stigma, negative social standing and ostracization that can ensue if found out by the wider family and community.
LGBT activists, however, often object to the term stating that it is nothing short of murder, objecting to its classification as a special form of 'killing'.
Turkish LGBT organisations, including Hebûn, the LGBT group in Diyarbakir, have repeatedly stressed that such murders are under reported by the family, community and police who often all have an interest to cover up such incidents.
In 2008, Ahmet Yildiz, a young Kurdish gay man who left Diyarbakir to Istanbul to live his life honestly and openly was murdered by his father for ‘shaming’ the family.
In Feburary, Arif the head of Hebûn, told GSN: ‘There is also the risk that our families will find out about us and our work.
‘None of us are “out” to family members, and we are constantly trying to hide our real selves from them. The younger members sometimes have to stay with friends as to escape from their families.
‘My father would kill me if he found out that I’m gay, he’s a very religious man who has lived in Saudi Arabia for many years. ‘