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Turkey teen singer still in coma a week after shooting

ISTANBUL: A teenage Turkish woman who was competing in a nationwide televised song contest is still in a coma one week after being shot in the head in an attack that shocked the country, doctors said Monday.

Mutlu Kaya, 19, who had previously received death threats for appearing in the show, was shot in the head at her home in the southeastern region of Diyarbakir in the early hours of May 18.

Only the scarcest details have since been released about her condition but doctors on Monday scotched hopes that she was coming out of her coma.

“There is no change in her overall situation. Her vital signs are stable. She is on a ventilator and being monitored,” the Diyarbakir hospital where she is being treated said in a statement quoted by the Dogan news agency.

“Although she has been taken off sedation medication, she remains unconscious,” it added.

The statement, without giving further details, also noted she had opened her eyes and taken breaths without the aid of the ventilator for the first time since the attack.

Kaya had been appearing on the show “Sesi Cok Guzel,” similar to “Britain’s Got Talent,” on the Turkish private channel Fox.

She had been mentored by Sibel Can, one of Turkey’s best known folk pop singers who has been a household name for decades.

Kaya’s health is being closely watched in Turkey amid suggestions that the shooting was an act of revenge for her daring to appear in the song contest.

Her performance on “Sesi Cok Guzel” — which moved Can and Kaya’s mother to tears — one month before the attack has now taken an almost unbearable poignancy, and has been viewed nearly 1.5 million times on YouTube.

The Hurriyet daily on Monday published footage of Kaya — whose first name means ‘happy’ — dancing with her family at a wedding just days before she was shot.

A former boyfriend, identified as Veysel Ercan, 26, has been remanded in custody and charged with attempted murder.

The Kurdish majority southeast of Turkey is known for its strongly conservative values, with women expected to perform a traditional role.

The main pro-Kurdish party, the People’s Democratic Party (HDP) prides itself on progressive attitudes towards women, even to the extent of jointly sharing its chairmanship between a man and a woman.

But that party practice is not always consistent with attitudes in the region’s society, which is still bedevilled by regular violence against women, often from their husbands. -AFP

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