Two Irish women fatally stabbed in western Turkey
Two Irish women have been stabbed to death in Turkey after one of them intervened in plans by her 15-year-old daughter to marry a 17-year-old Turkish boy.
The middle-aged women, from Co Down, were murdered late last night in the city of Izmir, about 120km from the resort of Kusadasi.
A 17-year-old Turkish youth, understood to be the boyfriend of a daughter of one of the women, has been arrested.
It is believed he has confessed to the attack and is expected to appear before the courts in Turkey as early as this evening. He was arrested in the company of his father, a local taxi driver.
Irish diplomats are liaising with relatives of the two murdered women.
A spokesman for the Department of Foreign Affairs in Dublin confirmed consular staff were trying to track down family members.
"We are providing consular assistance through the embassy in Ankara," the spokesman said.
The two women were travelling on Irish passports.
They have been named as Kathy Dinsmore and Marion Graham, who were in their 50s and are both believed to be from the Newry area.
The Irish Times understands Ms Graham's family has a property in Kusadasi. She was staying there with her 15-year-old daughter and her friend Ms Dinsmore.
According to well placed sources, the two women were trying to frustrate a plan by Ms Graham's daughter to marry a 17-year-old Turkish waiter she had met while in Turkey.
It is unclear if that relationship between the 17-year-old boy and Ms Graham's daughter had only begun in recent weeks or dated back to previous visits to Turkey.
It appears the women's efforts to prevent the marriage was the motive for their murders.
They had travelled into Izmir, where they were attacked. The women were found murdered in a forest just outside Izmir having been stabbed to death.
A local hotelier from Kusadasi then travelled to the city to be with Ms Graham's daughter. It is understood the girl is now in the care of Irish diplomatic staff at the Irish embassy in Ankara.
The girl was with her mother and Ms Dinsmore in Turkey and has no other family in the country. Relatives are currently travelling from the North to Turkey.
First Minister Peter D Robinson and deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness tonight offered their condolences to the families of the two women.
“We are shocked and horrified by this terrible atrocity and our thoughts and prayers are with the families and friends of Marion Graham and Kathy Dinsmore. We offer them our sincerest condolences,” they said in a statement.
“We particularly remember at this time Shannon Graham, the daughter of Marion, who was with her mother in Turkey. While circumstances surrounding the deaths have yet to fully emerge, we hope that the person or persons responsible will be brought to justice as soon as possible.”