Ziya Tasalı, who is accused of murdering American tourist Sarai Sierra, was referred to the İstanbul Council of Forensic Medicine (ATK) for mental health testing by an İstanbul court on Tuesday, the first day of his trial.
According to an initial autopsy report from the ATK, Sierra was not sexually assaulted, confirming testimony given by Tasalı during Tuesday's hearing.
Meanwhile, a request by the Family and Social Policy Ministry to be co-plaintiff in the case was accepted by the court.
The İstanbul 5th High Criminal Court on Monday accepted the indictment concerning Sierra, a 33-year-old mother of two who was found dead near İstanbul's ancient city walls on Feb. 2, 12 days after her family had reported her missing. She was vacationing alone in the city. The indictment seeks aggravated life imprisonment for Tasalı, known as Laz Ziya, on the charges of premeditated murder. The date of the first hearing has been set for Sept. 3.
Police captured Tasalı, a homeless scrap-paper collector, on March 17 in the province of Hatay near Turkey's border with Syria one-and-a-half months after Sierra's murder.
Tasalı later confessed to killing the tourist, according to İstanbul police. He told the police that after drinking heavily and ingesting drugs on Jan. 21, he saw a woman walking along the ancient city walls in Cankurtaran and tried to kiss her. When she hit him with her mobile phone, the suspect, incensed, found a rock on the ground and began to hit her. According to Tasalı, Sierra fought “for dear life” but he hit her twice on the head. “When I came back in the morning, she was dead and I covered her,” he also said.
Tasalı further recounted that Sierra had come to the area where he had been sniffing paint thinner. “It was around 1:00 a.m. when she came there. I even didn't think that she was an American or a tourist. I thought she was a Turkish woman. It was only after I saw newspapers reporting the disappearance of an American woman that I understood the missing woman was the one who I killed."
Sierra was murdered while vacationing alone in İstanbul, where her family said she visited to do some photography. They last spoke to Sierra on the morning of Jan. 21, the day before she was scheduled to begin her journey home. Sierra never checked into her flight out of İstanbul. Nearly two weeks after Sierra's disappearance, police found her body hidden behind the ancient city walls in the neighborhood of Cankurtaran. According to the police, she was killed by blunt force trauma to the head and, despite the conflicting media reports, was not raped.
Bullets were fired at main office of the HDP office based in Ankara
A three session conference organised by the SETA Foundation and the University of Belgrade has underlined the main issues to develop positive Turkish and Serbian relations in the 21st century.
The Turkish ministry has said Greece must take all measures to provide peace and safety to the Turkish minority living in Western Thrace.
IMF Managing Director Lagarde and World Bank President Kim have congratulated Turkey's 'powerful' and 'honest' G20 presidency.
During its G20 presidency term in 2015, Turkey wants to give an official form to the W20 group to globally increase the role of women in the business world.
Turkish President criticizes UN Security Council's response to world turmoil during speech in Kazakhstan.
The US has rejected Assad's claim that Turkey was sabotaging cease-fires in Syria.
Excavations in eastern Turkey show thousands of Muslims were massacred by Armenian gangs in 1918, say research experts.
Ferhat Yildiz was sentenced to prison for 11 years and eight months in an Istanbul court today
Reactions of Turkish government and opposition parties over European Parliament’s recent resolution recognizing 1915 events as 'genocide' dominated Turkish dailies' headlines Friday.
Turkey will provide $200 million to Gaza Strip for reconstruction efforts.
The annual Trip Advisor's Travellers Choice Award has voted Istanbul as the top travellers destination for Europe for 2015.
Bomb disposal searched plane after a note claiming there was a bomb on the plane.
At Financial Times Summit on Turkish economy, experts agree that Turkish economy is being transformed, with industry moving to more knowledge-intensive production.
Deputy Prime Minister Ali Babacan says Islamic finance model offers additional financial instruments with less risk.
Turkey rejects European Parliament’s resolution recognizing 1915 events as "genocide", Davutoglu tells EU Parliament president in telephone call.