October 8, 2009 / 6:10 PM / 10 years ago

Father accused of daughter's "honour killing"

LONDON (Reuters) - A 15-year-old schoolgirl who vanished a decade ago was murdered by her father in a so-called honour killing after falling in love with the wrong man, the Old Bailey heard on Thursday.

Tulay Goren, a Kurdish Turk from Woodford Green, north London, became a “worthless commodity” in her father’s eyes after she began a relationship that he disapproved of, the court was told.

Her father, Mehmet Goren, killed Tulay “to restore the so-called honour” of his family, prosecutor Jonathan Laidlaw told the court.

The schoolgirl went missing in January 1999 and her body has never been found, the Press Association reported.

Goren, 49, and uncles Cuma Goren, 42, and Ali Goren, 55, both from Walthamstow, east London, all deny murder.

The men also deny conspiracy to murder her boyfriend, Halil Unal, 30, between May 1998 and February 1999.

“The circumstances in which Tulay was killed and the background to this murder demonstrate that Mehmet did not act alone in this offence because this was what has become known as an honour killing,” Laidlaw said.

The members of the Kurdish family had arrived in Britain from Turkey in the early 1990s and claimed political asylum, the court heard.

The court heard how Tulay had fallen in love with a man called Halil Unal who she met in the summer of 1998 at a clothes factory where her mother worked.

It is alleged that she was killed after Mehmet consulted with older brother Ali, the senior figure in the family, and younger brother Cuma.

Unal, who was 30, came from a different town in the Kurdish region of Turkey and was brought up as a Sunni Muslim while the Gorens were from the Alevi branch of the faith, jurors heard.

Laidlaw told the court that while they came from places no more than 60 miles apart, a relationship between an Alevi Muslim and a Sunni Muslim would not have been tolerated.

Tulay’s boyfriend alerted police to her disappearance. Her father was arrested, but he maintained she had simply run off, the court heard.

Laidlaw said her mother Hanim Goren, who had said very little at the time, will now give evidence for the prosecution. The trial continues.

Reporting by Stefano Ambrogi

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