On the first day of the feast of sacrifice (Eid al-Adha), the Turkish public opinion witnessed another example of verbal and physical assault against a woman. This time, the target was Ayşegül Terzi, a female nurse returning from work on a public bus. Another passenger, Abdullah Çakıroğlu, on the grounds that felt offended by the woman wearing shorts, kicked her in the face.
The event sparked a huge public response mainly on social media networks. A main point in these discussions was not only the “motive” of the perpetrator, but also the indifference of the other passengers and the driver. The bus driver choose not to intervene, but instead dropped the victim off at the next stop.
Last, but not least the quick release of the perpetrator after a judicial hearing sparked public outrage. After the judge ruled that it was just a case of battery that did not warrant arrest Çakıroğlu when he was coming out of the Public Security Office, called out to the reporters and said: “Everything happened in line with Islamic law. When I see naked spots on a body, I kick. I beat people whose clothing I do not like. The state has to punish those people”. It was clear that he was exclusively referring to women.
The release of the perpetrator created a strong response, not only from women's organizations, but also from the public. Especially the contentment of Çakıroğlu while leaving the Public Security Office with a smirking expression on his face irritated a large group of people who described the situation as one of many, where the male perpetrator was aware of the impunity the security and justice system granted him. Following the discussions on social media, which were not limited to naming and shaming the perpetrator but also reported the bus driver to municipal authorities and called them to take action, the persecutor filed a warrant. This time, Çakıroğlu was taken into custody under the accusation of "encouraging the people to hatred and hostility” and “preventing the use of freedom of faith, thought and opinion”. In his second statement at the court, Çakıroğlu said that his “national and spiritual feelings were at their highest level during the feast of sacrifice. The fact that the woman was not dressed normal provoked my religious feelings”. He also stated that the Turkish constitution needs to be based on Islam and that even when a person is a non-Muslim, s/he has to dress in a proper way, so that s/he does not corrode [our] moral values. Reminding that there is a “whipping punishment in Islam for women who dress sexy”, Çakıroğlu argued that those women destroy [our] mental chemistry, and capacity to think reasonable. The court decided for his arrest.
Meriç Eyüboğlu, a feminist lawyer evaluated the second decision of the court as right, but deficient. The second article of the law upon which the perpetrator was arrested, which is also referred to as the “hate law” in public but is not officially termed as such, reads that “whoever openly insults a section of the people based on social, racial, religious, sexual or regional differences or differences of class, or sect will be punished by 6-12 months prison sentence”. Yet, Eyüboğlu says, although this incident contains that sort of insult, it also contains battery and injury, which clearly illustrates that the law is simply inadequate. Furthermore, Eyüboğlu also draws attention to a recent draft of legal reform which proposes that offenses, which are fined with up to two years imprisonment will be open to reconciliation and resettlement. In case this proposal passes, the existing law will by no means be able to provide protection for (potential) victims in similar cases.