A gay Syrian refugee has been found beheaded an mutilated in Istanbul, Turkey. The man had also been previously kidnapped and gang raped, his friends said.
Muhammed Wisam Sankari, known to his friends as Wisam, vanished after leaving his house in the district of Aksaray on July 23. He was found dead two days later, a mile away from his home.
His flatmate Rayan Gorkem, who went to identify his body, told the Turkish LGBT magazine KaosGL: “They had cut Wisam violently – so violently that two knives had broken inside him.
“They had beheaded him. His upper body was beyond recognition, his internal organs were out. We could identify our friend from his pants.”
“About five months ago, a group kidnapped Wisam in Fatih (Istanbul’s historic centre). They took him to a forest, beat him and raped him. They were going to kill him but Wisam saved himself by jumping on the road.”
Rayan said: “We complained to the police headquarters but nothing happened.”
Sankari arrived in Istanbul a year ago after fleeing the war in Syria, but wanted to leave Turkey because he feared for his life.
While homosexuality has been legal in Turkey since 1923, when the republic was founded. It was also legal in the Ottoman empire from the mid 19th century.
However, gay people in Turkey regularly complain of harassment and abuse in a largely conservative Muslim society, where same-sex relationships are frowned upon.
Also human rights organizations like Amnesty International have warned that Turkey does not offer full protection as required under the UN Refugee Convention.
“No one cares about us. They just talk. I get threats over the phone. I speak calmly so something does not happen. It does not matter if you are Syrian or Turkish, if you are gay you are everyone’s target,”close friend of Wisam Sankari said.
Critics say that the President Tayyip Erdogan and the Islamist-rooted AK Party he founded have shown little interest in expanding rights for minorities, gays and women, and are intolerant of such dissent.