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Trans Teen Reportedly Blinded By Acid Attack, Covered in Burns

Trans Teen Refugee Victim of Horrific Acid Attack in Turke

Friends say she is suffering verbal abuse by the hospital staff as she recovers.

A teenaged transgender woman in Turkey was the victim of a vicious acid attack, allegedly by her ex-boyfriend, that has left her blinded and covered in third-degree burns. According to a report in Bianet, Asya Ceyahir, a Syrian refugee living in Istanbul who recently celebrated her 18th birthday, had stepped outside her home on March 9 when a man threw hydrochloric acid over her face and upper body. Ceyahir was able to identify her attacker as Emre Bozturk, but police initially delayed arresting him and then only charged him with a lesser crime of assault. Friends told Bianet that while Ceyahir is receiving proper medical care, she is being subjected to homophobic abuse and treatment from staff.

"Our friend's back is full of burns," an unidentified friend said. "Both of her eyes are in very bad condition. One of her eyes totally lost vision."

Police arrested Bozturk, but declined to charge him with attempted murder, instead remanding him to custody for "intentional injury," a lesser charge that carries a sentence of only one to three years in prison.

Friends told Bianet that Ceyahir is suffering from homophobic treatment and abuse at the hands of hospital staff.

"They always look at us like they are disgusted," one friend said.

When they brought Ceyahir a phone so she could speak with her family, the hospital staff "wrapped" it in "galoshes" for protection. Friends fear for Ceyahir's safety and well-being, but are more fearful of complaining.

"This situation makes us very sad, but we are very concerned that they won't treat our friend so we stay silent," the friend said.

Turkey has a hostile climate for the LGBTQ+ community. Last year, Netflix canceled the Turkish 8-part series If Only rather than remove a gay character as requested by government censors. Late last year the government also prosecuted 18 students and one academic for their participation at a local university's Pride event in 2019. And a report from the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association (ILGA) recently found Turkey was next to last in Europe for LGBTQ+ rights.

For now, Ceyahir's friends want justice against her attacker.

"We want the man who attacked her to receive the heaviest sentence and to be tried for 'murder,'" one friend told Bianet.

A previous version of this article had incorrectly identified Turkey as a member of the EU.

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