The Kadikoy Shelter
In a quiet area of the municipality one finds the result of another initiative of Kadikoy's activist deputy mayor. In 2001, a woman approached Inci Bespinar, asking for protection. The next day, she was killed by her husband with an axe. After two sleepless nights, Bespinar took the initiative to mobilize the resources needed to set up Kadikoy's first shelter for women at risk. Her initial funding came from the World Bank and the Turkish state. The district governorship contributed salaries for the resident nurse, psychologists, administrators and part-time doctors. The municipality pays for the premises and provides in-kind support. Starting with 15 beds, the shelter has expanded to fill two buildings. In the past three years, it provided shelter to 437 women and 269 children in need.
Kadikoy's local CHP administration has thus set a Turkey-wide standard. According to the UN, there should be at least one bed in a shelter for every 10,000 people. With 75 beds for a population of 660,000 Kadikoy meets this target. Across Turkey there is today one shelter bed for every 144,000 people. Most Turkish municipalities have not implemented their new legal obligation to provide shelters for women.