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Peace and Beyond: Women’s Activist Alliances under Turkey’s “Regime of Emergency”

Nisa Göksel

Abstract

This essay begins with the formation of solidarities among women’s movements in Turkey during the period of the peace process. It focuses on events that took place between March 8, 2013, the beginning of the peace process, and March 8, 2017, when women activists in Turkey joined the International Women’s Strike. Despite the collapse of the peace process and the resumption of war in the summer of 2015, women activists continued to struggle under the Turkish government’s emergency regime. This essay addresses the ways in which the peace process and its termination affected relations among activist women, both Kurdish and non-Kurdish, as they have sought to confront Turkey’s “new” emergency regime. Many women’s groups lost their institutional footing due to the emergency regime’s forced closure of women’s organizations and its arrest of numerous activists, parliamentarians, and co-mayors. In this context, the essay demonstrates, women are left with no choice but to strengthen their alliances and to radicalize their movements against the state’s authoritarian regime.

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Keywords

women’s and feminist movements, Turkey, emergency regime, March 8
Published in a Special Section
Transnational Feminist Strikes and Solidarities
Edited by Ramsey McGlazer

This multilingual special section gathers activist texts and theoretical reflections on the International Women's Strike of March 8, 2017. Contributors from Turkey, Argentina, Poland, and Italy consider the strike's implications and effects, emphasizing the ways in which it both indexes and advances, both speaks to and spurs, a radical re-politicization of feminism. Texts by Rita Segato and Françoise Vergès provide critical frameworks for understanding this process. All of the texts collected here—essays, dispatches, chronicles, manifestos, and an interview—indicate the urgency and the promise of a feminism that refuses racism, capitalist exploitation, environmental depredation, and state violence.

Read the full issue.