Germany: Turk shot sister dead 'because of her morals'

The Independent
A Turkish immigrant has confessed to shooting dead his 23-year-old sister because he "could not accept her morals".
The confession came at the opening of the trial of three Muslim brothers accused of committing a brutal "honour murder" in the German capital earlier this year.
Hatun Surucu was shot at point-blank range in February as she stood at a Berlin bus stop near her apartment.

The killing, which shocked Germany, occurred after she refused to rejoin her husband in Turkey in a marriage arranged by her parents when she was 15. Yesterday, Ayhan Surucu, her 19-year-old brother, admitted shooting dead his sister in cold blood: "I killed my sister and I did it on my own," he told a Berlin court.

"I could not accept her moral behaviour and I was worried that her son might become addicted to drugs. Today I regret my actions. What I did cannot be undone," he added.

His two brothers, Mutlu, 26, and Alpaslan, 24, who deny plotting the murder together with their brother, told the court that at the time they knew nothing of their sister's murder and that they had had no contact with her.

Mrs Surucu, who was forced to marry her Turkish cousin, left her husband and returned to her birthplace of Berlin in 1999. She broke with her family, refused to wear a traditional Muslim headscarf and lived with her child in a hostel. She had completed training to become an electrical engineer only weeks before her death.

Ayhan Surucu, who worked in an internet café before his arrest, said that on the day of his sister's murder, he had gone to her apartment to try to "talk sense" into her. "Hatun told me that she would go to bed with whoever she chose," he told the court.

"That was too much for me, I pulled out the pistol and shot," he added.

Mrs Surucu's killing was the sixth "honour murder" to occur within Berlin's 200,000-strong Muslim community in the space of four months in 2005. Some 45 similar murders have taken place in Germany over the past eight years. Her death has provoked a nationwide debate about immigration policy and charges that successive German governments have for decades ignored ritual injustices perpetrated in immigrant communities.

German and Turkish community leaders in Berlin were particularly alarmed by the reaction of Turkish immigrant children at a school near the site of Mrs Surucu's killing. Several 13-year-old Turkish children implied that they thought she had "earned" her death.

Serap Cileli, a German-born Turk who specialises in finding homes for women who are threatened by "honour murders" said: "Official claims that the majority of Turks are well integrated here are pure eyewash."

The trial continues.

By Tony Paterson in Berlin
Published: 15 September 2005