Woman's murder sparks outrage in Turkey

Protesters hold a banner reading 'Ozge, we have suffered with you' during a demonstration in Ankara.

Story highlights

  • Ozgecan Aslan, 20, allegedly fought a sexual assault before being killed
  • Her body was covered in gasoline, burned and then dumped in a riverbed
  • Protesters march in Istanbul and Ankara and express outrage on social media

(CNN)Her body was left on a riverbed next to a cemetery, burned and abandoned, found just days after her family reported her missing.

Now, a nation is protesting -- viewing her murder, according to one petition, as a symbol of the growing trend of violence against women in Turkey. The government is promising to punish her attackers and do more to protect others like her.
    Three suspects have been arrested in the murder of Ozgecan Aslan, 20, whose body was found Friday in Mersin's Tarsus district in southern Turkey, according to the country's semiofficial news agency Anadolu. She was reported missing Wednesday.
    Aslan allegedly fought a sexual assault before being killed by the driver of a bus she'd taken to go home, Anadolu reported.
    She was a first-year university student. Her body was covered in gasoline, burned and then dumped in a riverbed, police in Mersin said in a statement.
    Her funeral was held Saturday in her hometown, the same day protesters marched in Istanbul and Ankara.
    "You will never walk alone," Anadolu reported they shouted. "We will put an end to female homicides."
    The demonstrators carried banners, and images of the glasses-clad, long-haired Aslan, chanting: "We are here today. We revolt and we will continue to revolt until this stops."
    Protesters have also taken to the Internet, and their cries have been heard at the highest levels of government. The hashtag #OzgecanAslan renders thousands of tweets, updating hundreds every hour.
    On Monday, the country's president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, used Twitter to tell the country: "To make sure the perpetrators who brutally slayed our daughter, Ozgecan, get the heaviest punishment that they deserve, I will personally pursue this lawsuit."
    An online petition calling for institutions to step up and take responsibility for attacks like the one on Aslan has so far gathered more than 600,000 signatures.
    According to Anadolu, the daughters of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan -- Sumeyye Erdogan and Esra Albayrak -- visited Aslan's family on Sunday.
    "It is a very terrible situation," Sumeyye Erdogan reportedly said after the visit. "We've come here in order to be able to share their sorrow. Our actual aim is for those murderers to be punished in an effective way."