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Copycat murder-suicides distress Turkey

Three separate Turkish families committed suicide by taking cyanide in the first two weeks of November, and despite the government's denials, economic hardship seemed to play a key role in all three cases that shook the country.
Clouds pass over the Grand Camlica Mosque in Istanbul, Turkey, July 24, 2019. REUTERS/Murad Sezer - RC160610E3C0

Turkey was shaken by the apparent suicides of three families one after another in the first two weeks of November. All three families used cyanide to kill themselves. The first shocking news came from Istanbul’s Fatih district. Four siblings in the Yetiskin family, aged 48, 54, 56 and 60, killed themselves by simultaneously taking cyanide. A few days later, another shock came from Antalya, where Selim Simsek poisoned his 38-year-old wife and two children of two and five years before taking his own life by drinking the cyanide. The latest tragic news came from the Bakirkoy district of Istanbul, where Bahattin Delen, 38, poisoned his 38-year-old wife and six-year-old son and later took his own life the same way.

What do these suicides and murders say about Turkey? According to some government supporters, they are all about the weakening of religious convictions. For example, Yeni Akit Newspaper attributed the suicide of the four middle-aged siblings in Istanbul to “The God Delusion,” a book by Richard Dawkins found at the scene. 

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