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88 murder victims in 16 years in the north

A total of 88 people have been murdered in the north of Cyprus since 2001, averaging nearly six victims per year in the 315,000 population of the Turkish Cypriot community.

According to a study published in Turkish Cypriot newspaper Yeniduzen, a total of 84 murder cases with 88 victims have taken place since 2001. Thirteen of the 84 murder cases recorded over the past 16 years have yet to be solved with the murderers said to be still at large.

A similar study by Havadis newspaper last week only calculated murders in the last decade.

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The year that saw the most murders taking place in the north of Cyprus, was 2004 when nine people being killed. While four people were murdered 2001, seven were murdered in 2002, eight in 2003, nine in 2004, six in 2005, seven in 2006 and five in 2007. The number of murders dropped in 2008 to eight, followed by the five in 2009, four in 2010 and 2011, three in 2012 and 2013, five in 2014 and four in 2015.

The figures fared slightly better last year as only one murder took place but 2017 has once again seen an upturn to the worse.

In the first sixth months of 2017, five murders have already been committed in the north with the same figures showing that four of the five victims were women. Three of those five killings were also connected to domestic violence.

Out of the 88 murder victims in the past 16 years, 34 were women and 15 of those women were killed by their husbands – subsequently leaving dozens of children without their parents.

The nature of the killings has also shocked the Turkish Cypriot community.

According to Yeniduzen, the preferred weapon of choice is a gun and a knife. Four out of seven murders that took place were committed with the use of a knife. In three of the cases, women were stabbed several times by their husbands or partners.

On 20 April, Gamze Pehlivan was stabbed 15 times by her husband Suat Asir outside a university in north Nicosia in broad daylight. Police say her husband also doused her in petrol on her and had intended to set her alight before he was stopped.

Two days before this incident, 25-year-old Burcu Okumus died after being stabbed five times by her husband outside a cafe on a busy avenue in Famagusta, again in broad daylight.

In both killings, the husbands were said to have acted out the murders in a fit of jealous rage.

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