Human rights activists have called on Turkey to do more to prevent violence against trans people.

According to Human Rights Watch, eight trans people have been murdered in Istanbul and Ankara since November 2008 and two trans women have been killed this month.

The charity said that Aycan Yener was killed on February 16th in the Fatih area of Istanbul.

Ms Yener was stabbed to death in her apartment and her roommate was also attacked. Turkish media reports said that three people were seen fleeing the scene but there have been no arrests.

A week earlier, on February 8th, a 35-year-old trans woman named only as Derya Y was killed in her home in the Altındağ district of Antalya. She had also been stabbed.

It is not yet clear whether their murders were motivated by transphobia.

Four Turkish and international human rights organisations have written to the Turkish government to warn that the “targeted killing of transgender women” is part of a “broader pattern of violence” against LGBT people in Turkey.

Pembe Hayat, Human Rights Watch, ILGA Europe, and the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission said: “We acknowledge and are grateful for police efforts to investigate and resolve these crimes.

“However, it is deeply troubling that incidents of murder and violence against LGBT people in Turkey, especially transgender people, continue unabated.”

It also asked for new anti-discrimination laws and better cooperation with police and the wider community.

Juliana Cano Nieto, a researcher at Human Rights Watch, said: “Protecting people and preventing violence means more than investigating after the fact.

“Without meaningful government action to affirm their rights and ensure their safety, transgender people in Turkey will continue to live in fear.”