Below is an excerpt from the latest information file published by the Kurdish Women’s Relations Office (REPAK. It details how women have been targeted by the Turkish state over the last several months.
You can download the full report here
‘Women of Resistance Targeted By the State’
Turkish State Terror in Kurdistan and Feminicide
As of 11 January 2016
I. ‘Fight against terrorism’ or state terror against the people? Political evaluation and call
II. Chronology: Curfews
III. ‘Shoot the women first!’ List of women killed during curfews or by extralegal execution
IV. ‘You killed my mom!’ The killing of 57-year-old Taybet Inan
V. ‘They would become terrorists when grow up’ (!) List of Kurdish children killed by Turkish security forces under siege
For further information:
Kurdish Women’s Relation Office (REPAK)
Tel.: +964 (0) 750 19 70 644
Erbil – Iraqi Kurdistan Region
I- Is the “fight against terrorism” state terror against the people?
Political evaluation and call
The Turkish state is conducting war against the Kurdish people. This war did not begin with the murder of two police officers, as is often alleged. The decision for a total war was already taken while negotiations between the Turkish state and the PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan were ongoing. The state, which has isolated Abdullah Öcalan since his abduction on February 15, 1999 as a prisoner of war on Imrali Island, suddenly and unjustifiably ended talks with him after April 5, 2015. The war being conducted today was decided on October 30, 2014 at the meeting of the National Security Council ( NSC). This illustrates that from the beginning, the Turkish state did not intend a political, democratic and just solution to the Kurdish issue, instrumentalized the dialogue process in order to assert its power with the 2014 local elections and the 2015 general elections, and led the war in an implicit manner while negotiating with Öcalan on the other side. It aimed to be the sole power-holder by leading a proxy war against the Kurdish freedom movement in Rojava by supporting Islamist gangs such as Al Nusra and later ISIS and Ahrar al-Sham, while domestically inciting attacks by ultra-nationalist, Islamist circles and ISIS gangs against the HDP. However, in spite of all the attacks, lynchings, killings, and arrests, the HDP managed to achieve a historic success by reaching 13.2 percent of the vote in June 6 elections, while the AKP has lost its chance to govern alone when its vote was reduced to 40.1 per cent.
Violations of international law
After failing to achieve the necessary majority to pass the presidential system which it designs in the form as a dictatorial regime, the AKP very openly began to attack the Kurdish freedom movement after the 6 June elections as a result. In violation of international law and despite objections by the central Iraqi government, the AKP began bombing the PKK guerilla camps in South Kurdistan /northern Iraq from the air since July 24, 2014. The civilian casualties in these still ongoing air strikes are ignored: on August 1, 2014 the Zergele villages in the Qandil Mountains was bombed and 10 civilians were killed in the air strikes. Parallel to the air strikes in northern Iraq, extensive military operations against PKK guerrillas inside Turkey state borders were initiated. At the same time, the guerrilla cemeteries made by the Kurdish to bury their children began to be bombed in a systematic manner.
Women mayors sacked
Parallel to these attacks directly targeting the right to life, systematic attacks on the political will power of the Kurdish people have been developed. 23 democratically elected Kurdish mayors were sacked in Kurdish provinces and districts democratically by the Ministry of Interior. A striking point is that it is especially female co-chairs that are sacked in the DPB (Democratic Regions Party) which upholds a co-presidency system in the municipal assemblies. In this context, a total of 16 women co-mayors were sacked in spite of public protest: Leyla Imret in Cizre, Handan Bagci in Özalp, Ruken Yetişkin in Yüksekova, Diba Keskin in Ercis, Aygül Bidav in Ipekyol, Sara Kara in Nusaybin, Gülistan Akel in Batman, Şengül Erkmen in Digor, Sevil Rojbin Cetin in Edremit, Yüksel Bodakçi in Silvan, Fatma Şık Barut in Sur, Dilek Hatipoğlu in Hakkari, Hidayet Tiryaki in Ikiköprü, Şaziye Öner in Igdir, , Eylem Özlem Onuk in Sirnak, Seyran
Argan in Beytüssebap. Together with Catak co-mayor Evin Keve, who was arrested on January 3, 2016 charged on grounds of the “possibility of declaring self-government” currently 17 Kurdish mayors are in detention.
Kurds declared self-government
The Turkish government does not recognize the will-power of the Kurds, destroying and denying all kinds of their rights with such policies. The Kurdish people have responded to this with the declaration of their will. In this sense, beginning on 10 August 2015, the Democratic People’s Assemblys declared self-administration in more than 20 centres. At the statements which were made with the participation of the Democratic People’s Assemblies, the Kurdish Women’s Movement, and NGO representatives from the provinces and districts the self-governance concept was put forward:
“We will develop our own solution on the basis of democratic self-government. We will administer ourselves through our decisions we will take in our assemblies based on the will-power of our town, our village, our neighborhood. We no longer want the state institutions that develop massacres and call it governance, nor do we want the police force which the state uses to legitimize violence in the name of security. We do not want to be murdered with the lie murder called public safety. We will provide our own security as a community. We will fulfill all the requirements of being a society. Without depending on state institutions, without being subjected to the pressure of state institutions, we will illustrate our will-power to live through realizing our democratic self-government as a free society. From now on, we ourselves will administer our cities and ourselves. “
(Van Ercis Self Management Declaration – 12 October 2015)
While the statements noted that self-governance was the Kurdish people’s collective expression of will-power on one hand, they also stressed that the self-governance model is a means to overcome the rigid centralism of Turkey. On November 2, 2015, the democratic people’s assembly of Siirt explained that they had no other aim than the development local democracy and in that basis the democratization of Turkey. The statement also noted that attacks by the Turkish government led to the deepening of the chaos:
“We call on the Turkish state and its political powers to respect the will power of our people and for Turkey to exit the political stalemate and war environment by recognizing these democratic formations. Attacking our people’s democratic will and self-governance will only deepen the the conflict and drag Turkey further into the chaos of the Middle East”
The judiciary dismissed self-government as criminal
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said the following about the self-government announcements and the conflict during the August 18, 2014 handover ceremony of the Chief of General Staff:
“Those who attack Turkey’s integrity, the unity of our nation, and our brotherhood with the forces they take behind them get and will continue to get the answers they deserve”
A day after Erdogan’s statement, simultaneous operations were carried out in the Sur and Silvan districts of Diyarbakir province, where self-governance had been proclaimed. In both districts, the DBP municipal assembly co-mayors were detained and arrested.
Afterwards, arrest operations were launched on all municipalities of districts that had declared self-governance.
The complete information file can be downloaded here: REPAK Information File, 11 January 2016