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Turkish women rally against rising violence targeting them

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Istanbul (AFP)

Dozens of women protested in Istanbul on Saturday to denounce rising violence against women and the government's failure to stop brutal attacks across the country.

They gathered in the Kadikoy neighbourhood on the Asian side of Istanbul, recounting harrowing stories of women recently murdered across the country, including Emine Bulut, whose killing by her ex-husband in August sparked outrage.

"Stop the murder of women!", "Stop male violence!" and "Do not watch violence, do something," they shouted.

Bulut's murder in front of her daughter sent shockwaves across Turkey after a video of the attack was published online.

The 38-year-old was stabbed to death in a cafe on August 18 by her former husband in the central Anatolian city of Kirikkale. Bulut, who had divorced him four years ago, died in hospital.

Her name was a worldwide trending topic on Twitter and "I don't want to die" (#olmekistemiyorum) was widely quoted on social media.

"The murder of Emine Bulut sparked frustration and resentment in society. Her last words are ringing in all women's ears: I don't want to die," Gamze Ozturk, one of the organisers, told AFP.

"There are increasing numbers of women being murdered and none of them wanted to die," she said.

A total of 294 women were murdered in the only first eight months of 2019 -- 40 of them in August alone, while 440 women were killed last year, according to the women's rights group We Will Stop Femicide, which has been tracking gender-related deaths.

"We will be out on the streets to protect women's rights until no single woman is killed," protester Bircan Sahin told AFP.

Turkey has ratified the Council of Europe's 2011 Istanbul Convention on preventing domestic violence -- but activists say more needs to be done to put the laws into practice.

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