Kurdish women fight for rights of both groups, Istanbul deputy says

Kurdish women contribute to the global fight for women’s rights while also struggling for human rights in their own country, an Istanbul deputy from Turkey’s pro-Kurdish party said at a summit of European feminists at the end of June.

The “Kurdish feminist movement” has gained significance because the pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party, or BDP, has prioritized female representation, BDP’s Istanbul deputy Sabahat Tuncel said at the opening session of the 2010 European Feminist Meeting held at Istanbul Technical University’s Maçka Campus.

As a rule, the BDP tries to assign a woman as one of its presidents-general, and out of the 28 female mayors in Turkey, 14 of them are BDP members, Tuncel said, adding that Kurdish men recognize women’s success and motivate them to attain higher positions.

According to the deputy, what she characterized as “Kurdish feminism” has its basis in the larger struggle for Kurdish people’s rights and challenges problems of violence, rape, honor killings and polygamy through demanding equal rights in the political arena.

By establishing nongovernmental organizations, Kurdish women have tried to broaden their outreach within the country despite the racist and nationalistic opposition they sometimes face, Tuncel said.

The 2010 European Feminist Meeting welcomed women from 22 countries to Istanbul to discuss women’s issues as well as the current economic and political situation in Europe.



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