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"These so-called honor murders are not a new phenomenon but one that's been a taboo subject in Germany for much too long," Cileli said."The murders are committed quite openly in public to serve as a warning to other women." Last February, Hatin Surucu, 23, a Turkish woman raised in Berlin, was shot three times in the head by a brother; two other brothers, who were arrested as accomplices, have pleaded not guilty.Muslim Turks comprise the majority of Austria's 400,000-member Islamic community and 2.8 million of Germany's estimated 9 million foreigners.Fatima turned to Orient Express, a Vienna nonprofit agency of mostly Turkish women that has helped 28 victims of forced marriage in recent months.Kalek says the "growing Islamic radicalization of many Turkish communities in German cities" has caused the phenomenon to grow in recent years.Perhaps with that in mind, both Austria and Germany have recently begun to address the issue.Some observers say the sudden interest in forced marriages is the result of about 48 "honor killings" in Germany since 1996 by male relatives who have slain wives and sisters by bullets, knives and even gasoline for fleeing a forced marriage or adopting Western lives, according to the Turkish women's organization, Papatya, in Berlin.In the past year, eight honor killings have occurred in Berlin alone, the city with the largest Turkish community.
"Lest they be called xenophobic or due to a misinterpreted sense of tolerance, many Germans turn a blind eye." Nelle Kalek, an Istanbul native who works as a sociologist in Hamburg, blames the German government for not passing laws that punish parents for pressuring their daughters into marriage.The group hired a lawyer, who won an annulment by invoking a new penal code in Turkey that increased the minimum age of marriage for women from 15 to 18.Now 16, Fatima lives in a safe house in Vienna beyond the control of her father, who she says remains enraged by her defiance.At a recent trial broadcast on television, the 19-year-old accused in the killing, who faces a life sentence in prison, said he murdered his sister because she divorced her husband, refused to cover her head, dated men and lived alone. "I grabbed the pistol and pulled the trigger." According to the prosecution, the victim had been forced to marry a cousin in Istanbul at age 16.Defying her parents, she obtained a divorce in Turkey and returned to Berlin to give birth to the couple's son, who is now 5.