Turkish actor convicted of abusing pop star Sila

Turkish actor convicted of abusing pop star Sila in landmark domestic violence case
3 min read
22 April, 2019
Ahmet Kural was on Monday sentenced to more than a year in prison on charges of assaulting, defaming and threatening Turkish pop star Sila.
The case has highlighted the issue of violence against women in Turkey [Anadolu]
A Turkish actor was on Monday convicted for domestic abuse against his former partner, Turkish pop star Sila, in a landmark case which has highlighted violence against women in Turkey.

Actor Ahmet Kural was sentenced to 16 months and 20 days in prison by an Istanbul court on charges of assault and threatening and defaming the singer, Cumhuriyet reported.

"It's reassuring for all the women who could fall into this position," Sila told reporters in front of the court.

"It was a difficult time… I was slandered. No matter how strong you are, it's not easy to keep it together. Today, justice encouraged me. Silence is not a good idea. I want everyone to be bold and courageous."

Sila's case went to trial last month, after she accused former partner Kural of physical and verbal abuse against her last year.

The trial has been a landmark case in a country where victims of domestic abuse and sexual violence rarely come forward.

Violence is the biggest problem facing women in Turkey, a 2018 poll by Istanbul's Kadir Has University said. The problem has only increased over the past few years.

In 2018 alone, 477 women were killed in instances of gender-based violence, according to the women's rights group We Will Stop Femicide. Less than half that number were killed in 2012.

But the singer, whose full name is Sila Gencoglu, coming forward has highlighted the issue and reportedly spurred many victims of abuse and violence to come forward.

Canan Gullu, head of the Federation of Women Associations of Turkey (TKDF), told AFP last month that after Sila sought legal action, the NGO's emergency hotline had a significant spike in calls from victims of abuse.

More women had become aware of their rights and laws designed to protect them from violence, she said.

However, Sila's legal battle is not over.

Kural will serve just 10 months in prison - but not on charges of abuse against Sila.

The actor will go to prison on a seperate charge of taking drugs, which Kural's lawyer denied.

His sentence of more than one year on charges of assault and defamation against Sila was "postponed" by the judge who deemed Kural unlikely to commit a crime in the future, due to his lack of a criminal record, according to Sila's lawyer Rezan Epozdemir.

"A woman who has been subjected to violence is attacked when she is trying to claim her rights," Epozdemir said.

"How are women supposed to claim their rights under these circumstances?"

Both Epozdemir and Kural's lawyer Sibel Aydin claimed the trial had not been fair for respective their clients, with Aydin accusing the court of refusing to allow him to present witnesses and evidence to mount a defence.

Kural told reporters he intends to appeal the sentences.

"They are throwing this drug charge at me to slander me," he said. "I didn't beat anyone, I didn't defame anyone. I'm innocent."

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