The Examination of a Murder from the Lens of Urban Legends

Ozgun Ozata (Indiana University Bloomington)

The decapitated body of a seventeen-year-old high school student named Munevver Karabulut was discovered by a garbage collector in a waste container in Etiler, Istanbul on 3 March 2009. Law enforcement officers identified Karabulut’s seventeen-year-old boyfriend, Cem Garipoglu, as the prime suspect. Garipoglu disappeared the day of the murder. He was fugitive for 197 days. Meanwhile, Karabulut’s family organized declarations and demonstrations in various districts of Istanbul to keep the murder case continuously on media’s agenda. In parallel with that, Garipoglu’s extremely wealthy family were accused of using their connections to hide their son. As a result of increasing public pressure, Garipoglu turned himself in to the police in September 2009. He was sentenced to 24 years in prison in 2011; and approximately four years later, he committed suicide through asphyxiation in his cell. However, the public’s interest in the murder case has never ceased even after Garipoglu’s suicide. There were no apparent motives behind the murder; and this situation paved way for the emergence of rumors regarding Garipoglu family’s “dark connections with secret Satanic cults”. Today, the rumors in question are still circulating through oral sources and online platforms as well. It might be claimed that the murder case has turned into an urban legend. In this project, the murder of Munevver Karabulut will be examined from the perspective of urban legends by focusing on the concept of “projection”.

Part of 05-14 Death, Legend, and Belief, Friday, October 14, 10:30 am–12:30 pm