Mutlu Kaya, a singer competing on a Turkish television show modeled after Britain’s Got Talent, was shot in the head on Monday by an attacker who fired through a window from outside her house, AFP reports. Kaya, 19, lives in what the BBC describes as a “conservative” region in the southeastern part of the country and has received death threats after appearing on Sesi Çok Güzel, a talent show aired by Fox in Turkey. A suspect has reportedly been arrested in the shooting, but no details about the suspect have yet been made available.
The Hurriyet Daily News reported that Kaya told producers she feared reprisals from her relatives for appearing on the show:
“When they heard that I was going to join the competition, they told me they would kill me. I am afraid,” Kaya was quoted telling the show’s production team.
She was reportedly rehearsing at home for an appearance on the show when she was shot. She remained in critical condition in a hospital in Diyarbakir on Tuesday, according to the BBC.
AFP adds that the attempt on Kaya’s life is the latest in a string of high-profile incidents of violence against women in Turkey.
The Kurdish majority southeast of Turkey is known for its strongly conservative customs, with women expected to perform a traditional role.
The attack on Mutlu comes amid intensifying anger in Turkey over the extent of violence against women, with hundreds of wives killed by their husbands every year.
The murder and attempted rape of 20-year-old female student, Ozgecan Aslan, by a Turkish bus driver earlier this year sparked protests and calls for tougher punishments.
On Sesi Çok Güzel, Kaya was mentored by famous Turkish folk singer Sibel Can, who posted a photo of Kaya and expressed grief about the shooting on her Instagram account. “My beautiful girl Mutlu, how could they wound you? I am very sad,” Can wrote, according to a translation by AFP. “Her health situation is now critical, I wish for a speedy recovery.”