Saturday, February 21, 2009

Ahmet Yildiz is my Family (Was Ahmet the victim of a gay honor killing?)

I came across the story of Ahmet Yildiz on Facebook from a guy that knew him and is spreading the word. Ahmet's story touched me deeply. He was the victim of an honor killing. His family killed him because he came out to them. Every time I hear a story like this, I just want to cry.
Ahmet Yildiz, 26, a physics student who represented his country at an international gay gathering in San Francisco last year, was shot leaving a cafe near the Bosphorus strait this week. Fatally wounded, the student tried to flee the attackers in his car, but lost control, crashed at the side of the road and died shortly afterwards in hospital. His friends believe Mr Yildiz was the victim of the country's first gay honor killing. Ahmet Yildiz's crime, his friends say, was to admit openly to his family that he was gay.
"From the day I met him, I never heard Ahmet have a friendly conversation with his parents," one close friend and near neighbour recounted. "They would argue constantly, mostly about where he was, who he was with, what he was doing."
The family pressure increased, the friend explained. "They wanted him to go back home, see a doctor who could cure him, and get married." Shortly after coming out this year, Mr Yildiz went to a prosecutor to complain that he was receiving death threats. The case was dropped. Five months later, he was dead.
His blank refusal to hide who he was in any way may have been too much for his family. "He could have hidden who he was, but he wanted to live honestly," the neighbour said. "When the death threats started, his boyfriend tried to persuade him to get out of Turkey. But he stayed. He was too brave. He was too open."
I am Joe Villanova, I live in San Francisco California and Ahmet Yildiz is my family.

Was Ahmet Yildiz the victim of honour killing? 01 Feb 2009 

Şermin TERZİ - Hürriyet

Ahmet Yildiz (26 years old), was a young turkish, hairy bear. He was shot dead in front of his house on 15th July 2008. Nine months previously he gave a statement to the prosecuter in Üsküdar-Istanbul complaining that he was receiving death threats from his own family.

was this a victim of honour killing?

Before he was  murdered, Ahmet wrote an article for Turkey’s bear magazine “Beargi” about how he came out to his family and the reaction he received from them. After his murder, his boyfriend who is a turkish born german citizen, Ibrahim C. started working hard to get the world’s attention  to the case. The british newspaper “The Independent” was the first to announce his killing to the world with the headline “Was Ahmet Yildiz the victim of honour killing in Turkey?”

A campaign was started on the internet for Ahmet and received good support from the gay and hetero community around the world. His friends organised demonstrations for him in Turkey to get the answer to the question: “What kind of shame is bigger the shame of being a murderer or to be born gay?”
Ahmet’s murderer has not been caught yet. However the homicide detectives have stil not found the murderer.

Ahmet Yildiz was a final year student of Marmara University’s Department of Physics and he earned his living by teaching. If he hadn’t been  killed on the 15 th of July, the next day would have been his final exam for graduation.

He spent his last day, studying for the final exam. Ibrahim C., his boyfriend who resides in Germany was also with Ahmet that day. At 11 pm, Ahmet went out saying “ I need to get some fresh air and I’ll get some ice-cream as well” and as he got into his car the shootings started. As Ibrahim C. heard the sounds he rushed to the window and saw Ahmet’s car going backwards crashing into the wall of a pharmacy. Ibrahim immediately called Ahmet’s mobile but he got no answer. He ran downstairs to the car but Ahmet was already  fatally wounded and he died shortly afterwards.

After being questioned, Ibrahim gave Ahmet’s computer, his 2 mobiles and keys to the police. Later he went to the morgue to try to collect the body but he couldn’t, as he had no legal rights becouse he wasn´t family

he never considered the threats as serious

Ahmet had no problems with anybody but his family. When he went to the prosecution office, Ibrahim signed Ahmet’s statement as the witness.
Ibrahim explained Ahmet’s relationship with his family as: “The family started suspecting him when he was 20 years old..They tried monitoring his phone calls. His mom even hired a hacker to crack his computer password. Ahmet’s family lives in Adana. They first sent his sister to live at Ahmets. Then his mother came as well…”
Everything came to such a point that, one day Ahmet confessed and came out to his dad in a phone call. As Ibrahim says, the threats started after that conversation.
“He didn’t have any contact with his family  the following eight months . However he always had hope they would accept him one day. He always used to say that he was the adored son of the family and sooner or later, one day they will accept him. He never thought that the threats would go beyond efforts to scare him. And if  the prosecution office had taken his statement seriously, Ahmet would still be alive.”

the only eye witness is a lecturer of religion

The whole neighbourhood describes Ahmet as “a kind and nice person”.
He was not the only casualty on the night of his death. Mrs. Ummuhan Darama a neighbour who owns a cafe was also shot by a reverberated bullet. As the only eye witness of the case, Mrs. Ummuhan Darama detailed what happened that night as:

“I knew Ahmet from the neighbourhood. He was a kind and respectful person. A restaurant owner from our street told me that two days prior to his killing he has been trapped and beaten by two guys. In the night of his killing I was sitting in front of the cafe. Suddenly the continious shootings started and I hardly could get into the cafe. As I looked outside the window, I saw some people shooting both from a black Mercedes and from another yellow car. They just continued shooting after I ran away and I realized inside the cafe that I’ve also been shoot in the foot.”

“I’m a lecturer of religion and I think nobody’s sexual life is anybody´s business. I knew him as a respectfull person without knowing his sexual preference. I don’t believe that he deserved a death in this way. According to our religion, nothing else is more sinful than killing another.”

As Mrs.Ummuhan Darama testified, she told to the police; “Whoever the target was, I won’t let this case remain unsolved.” The police officers replied to her as :“You should thank god that you haven’t received the bullet into your head, you would be better not get involved in this.”
Then they asked her if she wants to take her case to court. “Certainly I want ! Even this question made me go mad. This case must be cleared up.”

the eye witness” cafe was shot upon for the second time."

After Mrs.Ummuhan Darama’s ten days treatment in the hospital, she went to the prosecution office to say that she will testify in the court.Three days later her cafe was once again peppered with bullets.

Ahmet Yildiz’s file is still pending as “secret” in the prosecution office. The lawyer for Ahmet Yildiz who has been hired by his friends and who also represents Mrs.Ummuhan Darama says they keep the file as “secret” since many lawyers want to get involved in the case. “Even I could hardly get to read the file..”

the gay community opened a blog on internet for him: Ahmet Is My Family

Ahmet’s boyfriend Ibrahim C. has started a blog, his friends are trying hard for justice to be served.
Sixteen members of the german senate asked the german government to contact turkish government to bring closure to this case. Amnesty International also got involved into the case. British and german newspapers wrote about it. The blog on the internet “Ahmet is my family” received big support throughout the world. Ibrahim C.,who leads  this campaign says we’ll do everything to get this murder solved. Whatever the reason for this murder be, we’ll fight till the very end.
“Why should we experience double-standards due to our sexual identity? We will do whatever it takes to raise  the issue of killings committed becouse of sexual genetics.

the last article which Ahmet wrote before being murdered

I always ask a lot of questions. I explore the facts of any event. That’s why my friends used to call me “Why Ahmet” during my time at high school.
My questions to older gay friends were mostly about their experiences about their coming out to their families and the reactions they received.

I listened to most of my friends experiences with their families. I can say that I’m theoretically experienced. And my experiences tell me that my family was not the kind to come out to. Both my father and mother are from kurdish origin from eastern Turkey. Besides, they have a conservative (Islamic) way of living. They don’t like men with earrings or consider women in mini skirts as faithless.
As I was just a child, I was caught by my family as having activities of discovering my sexual identity. My family always wanted to know more about me. Asking questions, putting pressure and exploring anything about me. Things came to such a point that I felt that I had to come out.

I told everything to dad. Even now, remembering that conversation makes my heart beat faster. My dad always used to tell my sister that he’d punish me.
We didn’t call each other for a couple of days. So started our first phase in our relationship. They started trying to find a way out of this situation thinking that they had to change their son immediately.

I haven’t seen my family for almost the last eight months. I expected them to accept the situation during this time. However it didn’t happen. Their beliefs, perception of honour and traditions created fears which prevented them discussing my case even in their thoughts.

They say that there’s a doctor here in İstanbul. Dad would come and we’d go visit him together. So I’d be cured. They think homosexuality is an illness ! I told them that it’s not. Being gay is like having hazel eyes which is inherited.

I want to get my family back. I wanted them in my life as my friends. However I suppose denial will be better. I think better to believe that time would heal all. Yes, sure time will… I’ll have to be without a family for a bit more. Yes, I’m proud I dont have to lie anymore. However I suggest if your family is homophobic, or extremely religious, or extremely traditional dont come out to them.

from his article on the magazine “Beargi” under the nickname “Blackbeary”.

1 comment:

  1. u fuckn made me cried with this post.
    luts of luv to this fabolous family from turkey. =*


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