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Turkish men wear mini-skirts and take to the streets, in protest at student's brutal rape murder

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Men across Turkey have dressed up in mini-skirts to protest the brutal rape and murder of 20-year-old student, Ozgecan Aslan. 

Aslan's death has sent shock-waves across Turkey and raises serious questions about the country's treatment of women, at a time when sexual and physical violence against the female population is on the rise and often goes unreported. 

Aslan was abducted on February 11 in Mersin in southern Turkey and was allegedly killed after trying to stop a mini bus-driver from raping her. It is thought she was stabbed and hit in the head with a metal bar after attempting to defend herself from attack by using pepper spray. 

Her burned body was found in a riverbed, with her hands cut off in an attempt to hide DNA evidence that would have been under her fingernails. The main suspect's friend and father have now been accused of helping him to burn the body.

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A young woman protests in Ankara

The discovery of Aslan's body led to widespread outrage and prompted angry protests in Istanbul's Taksim square, where hundreds of men and women gathered over the weekend dressed in dresses, skirts and miniskirts.  

According to a Facebook page set up to organise the demonstration, the clothing was intended to make the point that how women choose to dress is no excuse for harassment. 

"If a miniskirt is responsible for everything, if [wearing] a miniskirt means immorality and unchastity, if a woman who wears a miniskirt is sending an invitation about what will happen to her, then we are also sending an invitation!" the activists wrote. 

According to local news agency Anadolu, protesters shouted "You will never walk alone" as well as "We will put an end to female homicides" and "We are here today. We revolt and we will continue to revolt until this stops."

President of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, has also weighed in on the case, tweeting: "To make sure the perpetrators who brutally slayed our daughter, Ozgecan, get the heaviest punishment that they deserve, I will personally pursue this lawsuit."

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A Turkish man shares a solidarity picture on Twitter

In addition to the protests on the streets, Turkish men have been posting pictures of themselves on social media using the hashtag #ozgecanicinminietekgiy, which translates as "wear a miniskirt for Ozgecan". 

"The women's movement is trying to tell society, 'My dress is not an excuse for your rape or sexual harassment.' But society didn't want to hear these voices," said Turkish lawyer and activist Hulya Gulbahar to CNN about the protests. "People try to find excuses for rapes and killings. But they didn't find any in this case, because Aslan was very innocent, purely innocent. The protest shows that a short skirt is not an excuse for rape."

Women's rights are a huge issue in Turkey, with domestic abuse cases and murder rates against women on the rise. The New York Times reports that almost 300 women were murdered in 2014 in Turkey, with 27 killed last month alone.

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Hundreds of women are murdered and assaulted in Turkey every year

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