One of Turkey’s most influential newspapers, Habertürk printed an enormous photo of a dead body which had been cruelly stabbed on the back by a butcher knife. Unfortunately as we understood from the title on the paper, “Last Point for Violence Against Women”, the victim was a woman. The perpatrator, her husband for 19 years, had violated her physically and psycologically for a long time. Haberturk shocked its reader by placing this photo in the front page of the newspaper. The newspaper company didn’t have any concerns or doubts about publishing its October 7 issue which contained not only a cruel image of a dead body in the first page, but also payed no respect to the body of a person who had been killed and who should have been resting in peace, nor to the family of the woman who should have been left to deal with the sorrow in peace.
Haberturk received most of the comments from Twitter users about this incident. After the harsh criticism, the article was removed from the official website, haberturk.com. According to the previous editions of Haberturk, it is not the first time that the company published a cruel image or a crime scene without any censorship. This action is also defined by some as “Fatih Altaylı Style”. For example the photograph of the saw covered with blood, used in the murder of Münevver Karabulut was published on the cover of the newspaper. Besides that, the picture of 4 children who died from suffocation in Konya was also published.
The media found the article unethical and defined it as “pornography of violance”. Ece Temelkural, a columnist in Haberturk, wrote about the incident under the title, “Today we all have a knife stabbed to our backs”. She stated, “If I told that everybody is trying to configure this situation I don’t know how much it would affect. However it is true, we are all stabbed with a knife from the back, even the publishers!”. Another columnist in Radikal, Ezgi Başaran stated, “This is totally unacceptable and unethical.”
Fatih Altaylı responded the criticism in his column, “When you saw the news, you thought what a cruel person Fatih Altaylı is, didn’t you? When it comes to violance against woman a purple eye isn’t as much affective as this photo. Violance against woman isn’t a purple eye, it is a stabbed, bloody victim. If you don’t see the reality you will not recognize it. All I want is to make people react.”
However it is a well known fact that this is a technique for marketing and selling the newspaper. The defense of Fatih Altaylı is unacceptable and not rational. If the objective is to elevate awareness to violence against women, so where does it end? Is it necessary to humiliate a woman’s dead body? Does the awareness justify the possibility of creating even more calloused readers? Doesn’t the advantage of seeling more copies blind our search for an acceptable standard in the media?