Media Uses Women to Deviate Attention from Kurdish Question

In the “Media and Women” panel discussion of the Mesopotamia Social Forum Turkish journalists and authors evaluated the role of women in the mass media regarding the Kurdish question.

As part of last week’s meeting of the Mesopotamia Social Forum (MSF) publication director of the daily Günlük newspaper Filiz Koçaeli summarized her point of view in the “Media and Women” panel discussion. Koçaeli said that the mass media is using the women MPs of the pro-Kurdish Democratic Society Party (DTP) to direct the Kurdish question.

Kocaeli sees real potential to change politics in Turkey by the involvement of Kurdish women in the political agenda. As members of an oppressed part of society the women work on revealing gender based discrimination and on putting forward a common faith for the future.

Women are treated as objects or tools of deviation by the media
Gün TV program director E. Zuhal Bıkkım, leading through the discussion, said that Kurdish women are targeted by the media generating new sexist gender roles and othering them. Hürriyet newspaper editor Ertuğrul Özkök reminded: “Honor killings must be solved before the Kurdish question”.

Author Esra Çiftçi indicated that the Kurdish women are reflected in the mass media by reports somewhere in the middle of the newspapers about deaths from honor killings, about exposure to violence or becoming victims whereas on the back cover they are depicted as sexual objects. Çiftçi argued that women are not presented in the democratic and progressive press, describing this fact as a “serious problem”.

The Mesopotamia Social Forum

The MFS brought together organizations and movements from the Middle East and several other countries in the city of Diyarbakır in the southeast of Turkey from 26-29 September 2009.

The forum was a platform for discussion topics as diverse as problems of the people in the Middle East, conflicts in Latin America, the solution to the Kurdish question, the struggle in Palestine, women’s liberation, alternative global administrations, youth movement, water and energy management, ecology, prisons, urban transformation of the labor movement, freedom of expression and Alevi problems.

Coordinator Sırrı Süreyya Önder summarized the aim of the meeting as follows: “Thousands of people from the region of Mesopotamia and from different corners of the world meet at the Mesopotamia Social Forum to share their experiences in the struggle for a different world, a different Middle East, a different Mesopotamia. We are trying to unite our efforts in our seminars, workshops, exhibitions, concerts and discussions”.


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