Turkish writer accused of sexual harassment dies by suicide

Turkish writer accused of sexual harassment in #MeToo wave dies by suicide
2 min read
12 December, 2020
A number of Turkish authors have been accused of sexual assault and harassment in recent days.
Ibrahim Colak was one of several Turkish authors accused of sexual harassment [Getty]
A writer accused of sexual harassment amid a resurgent #MeToo-style movement in Turkey's literary world has died by suicide, local media reported.

Author Ibrahim Colak was found dead in his home in the capital Ankara on Thursday night, leaving behind an apparent suicide note on social media.

"My only wish was to be a good person, and I could not succeed in that," he wrote on Twitter shortly before hanging himself. "I could write for hours, days but this would not bring back anything. After this hour, I cannot look at the face of my wife, children and friends."

Colak was one of several Turkish authors accused of sexual harassment and assault this week.

Also accused in the latest #MeToo wave was Hasan Ali Toptas, an award-winning novelist.

More than a dozen women have accused Toptas of sexual harassment or assault, including fellow writer Pelin Buzluk.

"He does this because he trusts his reputation will protect him... He would have continued to do this to women if I had stayed quiet, so I didn't," Buzluk told Turkish daily Hurriyet.

The allegations prompted Toptas's publisher to cancel his contract. A film adaption of one of his novels was also cancelled in response, while organisers of a literary prize revoked an award given to him.

Toptas did not address the allegations directly but issued an apology on social media, claiming he did not realise he had harassed or assaulted anyone.

"One can make mistakes without knowing, realizing, or thinking about the wounds inflicted on the other party, without understanding what it is to be a patriarchal perpetrator," he said this week.

"I sincerely apologise to all the people I hurt, upset and harmed with my unwitting behavior," Toptas added.

Poet and novelist Huseyin Kiran and short story writer Bora Abdo have also faced accusations of sexual harassment amid the literary world's reckoning.

In recent years, women's rights groups have also highlighted the issue of rising violence against women in Turkey.

Rights group "We Will Stop Femicides" says 146 women were killed by men in the first half of 2020.

In 2019, a further 474 women were also killed, according to the group.

Those figures mark a sharp increase from 2011, when 121 women were killed. By 2017, that figure was 409, while 440 were killed in 2018.

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