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Brothels have existed in Turkey since Ottoman times, and were tolerated by Ottoman rulers. During the first years of the Turkish Republic, state-run brothels were established as a way to control prostitution closely on all levels.
Under the conservative Justice and Development Party AKP , though, the emphasis appears to lie more on stamping out activity many Turks view as a moral outrage.
Upon entering a state-run brothel in Istanbul, men — women are not allowed to visit the closed-off, red-light district — have to hand over their cell phones, guns, knives and any objects that might be harmful to women. The experiences of year-old Zeynep, a transgender woman who has been a sex worker for over 30 years, illustrate the dangers. But what can you do? She added that she would much rather work in a state-run brothel, but that her applications have been denied repeatedly.
The numbers seem to back her up: according to a report by the Turkish think-tank International Strategic Research Organization, one woman has died nearly every day in Turkey in recent years as a result of domestic violence.
Government statistics report that murders of women increased by 1, percent between and , with nearly 1, killed in Estimated violence against transgender persons shows a similar trend toward increasing.