Archiv der Kategorie 'Women'

For exiled novelist, Turkey ‚like 1930s Nazi Germany‘

Turkish novelist Asli Erdogan, living in exile in Germany as she risks a life sentence on terror charges at home, thinks the writing is on the wall: her country is sliding into fascism.

The award-winning author, still traumatised by the four months she spent in an Istanbul prison, warns that Turkey’s institutions are “in a state of total collapse”.

In President Recep Tayyip Erdogan—no relation—she sees a man tightening control over everyday Turkish life, emboldened by an outright victory in June elections, sweeping new powers and a crackdown on opponents.

“The extent of things in Turkey is like Nazi Germany,” the flame-haired 51-year-old told AFP in an interview in Frankfurt, her temporary home as she awaits the outcome of her court case in absentia.

“I think it is a fascist regime. It is not yet 1940s Germany, but 1930s,” said Asli.

“A crucial factor is the lack of a judicial system,” she added, describing a country of overcrowded prisons and pro-Erdogan judges in their twenties rushed in to replace ousted peers.

Asli herself was among the more than 70 000 people caught up in a wave of arrests under a state of emergency imposed after a failed 2016 coup against Erdogan.

She was held for 136 days over her links to a pro-Kurdish newspaper before being unexpectedly freed on bail.

The detention of the author of such novels as “The City in Crimson Cloak” and “The Stone Building and Other Places”, famed for their unflinching explorations of loss and trauma, drew international condemnation.

Turkey’s Nobel literature laureate Orhan Pamuk has called her “an exceptionally perceptive and sensitive writer.”

‚Pathetically funny‘

Turkey’s post-coup purge targeted not just alleged backers of preacher Fethullah Gulen, blamed by Ankara for the attempted putsch, but also opposition media and people accused of ties to Kurdish militants.

Turkish authorities reject accusations of widescale rights violations after the coup, and the state of emergency was lifted last month, after Erdogan was re-elected under a new executive-style presidency giving him direct control of ministries and public institutions.

“Erdogan is almost omnipotent,” Asli said.

“He decides on the price of medicine, on the future of classical ballet, his family members are in charge of the economy… Opera, which he hates, is also directly tied to him,” she added, chuckling.

“That’s the nice thing about fascism, it’s also pathetically funny sometimes.”

Turkish lawmakers have also approved new legislation giving authorities greater powers in detaining suspects and imposing public order, which officials say is necessary to combat multiple terror risks.

“It’s an emergency state made permanent,” said Asli.

‚Not bluffing‘

As for herself, Asli has given up hope of being acquitted and returning to Turkey anytime soon.

“They are not bluffing,” she said she realised after several journalists were sentenced to life terms.

She faces charges of spreading “terror propaganda” for her work as a literary adviser to the newspaper Ozgur Gundem.

The paper itself was shut down, accused by Turkish authorities of being a mouthpiece for the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), considered a terror group by Ankara and its Western allies.

The next hearings in Asli’s case are scheduled for October and March.

The diminutive former physicist said the wait for the verdict was “almost unbearable”.

“One of the biggest tortures you can do to a human being is to keep his fate unknown.”

‘You write with blood’

Released from prison in late December 2016, it took Asli until last September to get her passport back from Turkish authorities.
She immediately left for Germany, following other Turkish artists and intellectuals into exile.

She now lives in Frankfurt, the recipient of a flat and a monthly stipend as part of the international Cities of Refuge project.

The scheme aims to provide persecuted writers with a safe haven from where they can continue working.

But Asli, who has written eight books translated into 20 languages, hasn’t been able to pick up a pen yet.

Struggling with insomnia, depression and health problems, it has been easier to “play the professional writer” in past months, travelling abroad for literary events and talks.

But slowly her nightmares about prison are becoming less frequent, she said, while a painful neck hernia has done her the unexpected favour of forcing her to slow down.

Asli said she was getting “more in the mood” to write, but her immediate focus remained on raising the plight of those still locked up in Turkey.

“I have been pushed into a political role, which I try to carry with grace.”

But when she is ready, she will put her own experiences of prison to paper, in what Asli predicts will be “a very heavy confrontation”.

“In literature, you have to be more than 200 percent honest,” she said. “You write with blood.”

The Local

Die letzten Tage von Afrin

Am 20. Januar startete der türkische Präsident Erdogan mit seinen Verbündeten die „Operation Olivenzweig“, den Angriff auf die Kurden in der Region um die Stadt Afrin, seit 2012 unter deren Kontrolle. Für Ankara sind die Kurden wegen ihrer angeblichen Nähe zur kurdischen Arbeiterpartei PKK nach wie vor Terroristen – obwohl die syrische Kurdenmiliz YPG zum wichtigsten Verbündeten der USA im Kampf gegen den IS geworden war. ARTE-Reporter Yuri Maldavsky war bei einer der internationalen Brigaden, die auf Seiten der kurdischen YPG eigentlich gegen den islamistischen Terror gekämpft hatten: darunter ein Italiener, ein Engländer und ein Amerikaner. Nach den Angriffen mit schwerer Artillerie, Bomben und Raketen fiel Afrin am 18. März. Damit endete wieder einmal der Traum der Kurden von einer eigenen autonomen Region an der Grenze zur Türkei. Die internationale Gemeinschaft, allen voran die USA, rührten sich nicht, als Erdogans Soldaten die Region Afrin eroberten.


„Die Lage ist katastrophal“

In Afrin kämpfen türkische Soldaten gegen die kurdische YPG-Miliz – und das mit deutschen Waffen. Heuteplus hat mit einem Arzt gesprochen, der gerade dort war.


8 adarê roja berxwedan û tolhildana hezar salane

Demonstrationen am internationalen Frauenkampftag

Die kurdische Frauenbewegung in Europa (TJK-E) organisiert vom 2.-10. März Veranstaltungen und Demonstrationen zum internationalen Frauenkampftag.

Das Veranstaltungsprogramm der kurdischen Frauenbewegung in Europa (TJK-E) zum internationalen Frauenkampftag beginnt in diesem Jahr am 2. März und endet am 10. März. In zahlreichen europäischen Ländern finden rund um den 8. März Veranstaltungen, Feiern, Podiumsdiskussionen und Straßenaktionen statt.

In Deutschland sind neben vielen anderen Veranstaltungen folgende Demonstrationen und Kundgebungen geplant:

8. März

Essen: Demonstration, 17:00 Uhr, Hauptbahnhof

Duisburg: Demonstration, 16:00 Uhr, Hauptbahnhof

Bielefeld: Demonstration, 18:00 Uhr, Hauptbahnhof

Leverkusen: Demonstration, 18:00 Uhr, Rathaus

Gummersbach: Demonstration, 14:00 Uhr, Hindenburgstraße 4-8

Bonn: Demonstration, 18:00 Uhr, Kaiserplatz

Hildesheim: Demonstration, 17:00 Uhr, Hauptbahnhof

Berlin: Demonstration, 15:30 Uhr, Schlesisches Tor

Dresden: Demonstration, 16:00 Uhr, Pragerstraße

Magdeburg: Kundgebung, 16:00 Uhr, Alter Markt

Bremen: Demonstration, 16:00 Uhr, Ziegenmarkt

Frankfurt: Demonstration, 16:00 Uhr, Unicampus Bockenheim

Stuttgart: Demonstration, 15:00 Uhr, Hauptbahnhof

Reutlingen: Kundgebung, 17:00 Uhr

Freiburg: Demonstration, 18:00 Uhr, Platz der Alten Synagoge

Friedrichshafen: Kundgebung, 15:00 Uhr, Buchhornplatz

Hamburg: Demonstration, 17:30 Uhr, Gänsemarkt

Hannover: Demonstration, 17:00 Uhr, Ernst-August-Platz

Darmstadt: Demonstration, 18:00 Uhr, Luisenplatz

Ludwigshafen: Kundgebung, 16:00 Uhr, Rathaus

Saarbrücken: Kundgebung, 11:00 Uhr, Karstadt

München: Demonstration, 17:00 Uhr, Marienplatz

10. März

Düsseldorf: Demonstration, 14:00 Uhr, Hauptbahnhof

Köln: Kundgebung, 11:00 Uhr, Domplatz

Giessen: Demonstration, 13:00 Uhr, Kirchplatz


Women Are Free, and Armed, in Kurdish-Controlled Northern Syria
Women marching this month on the outskirts of Kobani, Syria, during a protest against a Turkish military offensive in the country. Many are waving the Rojava flag of Kurdish-controlled northern Syria. Credit Mauricio Lima for The New York Times

MANBIJ, Syria — Radwan, a 30-year-old Arab man, came with four male witnesses and a grievance with an ex-wife to a place called the Women’s House here in Manbij, in northern Syria.

He had recently divorced his second wife, Amira, 17, and he wanted back the gold he had given her as a bride price, some three or four ounces at most — worth more than few goats but less than a car.

The five men sat down with Amira and her mother, Isra, in a circle of plastic chairs around a stove to discuss the matter, with the mediation of several officials from the Women’s House.

The conversation grew heated as Amira and her mother, who asked that the families’ last names be withheld to avoid a tribal backlash against them, refused to return the gold. When the Women’s House officials said that not only was Amira right to keep it, but that she was also entitled to a houseful of furniture in compensation for the divorce, Radwan began shouting.

Chairs were knocked over and voices raised, but the women officials escorted the men out of the building politely but firmly, warning that the police would be summoned if they didn’t go quietly.
Ibrahim al-Wardy, talks to his wife, Zahida al-Jassim, in the office of Widat Hayat, center, at the Women’s House in Manbij, Syria, where they came to settle a property dispute between Mr. Jassim’s wife and another man. Credit Mauricio Lima for The New York Times

Shilan Shermooz, the administrator of the Women’s House, said the matter was not yet over. Once Radwan made the reparations, she said, they would send his case to court and see him prosecuted for beating and abusing Amira for the two weeks they were married. Radwan was also guilty of fraud, she said, because Amira agreed to the wedding not knowing he already had a wife and children.
Continue reading the main story

“The patriarchy really is over,” Ms. Shermooz said, sharing a laugh with two colleagues.

In the Kurdish-controlled areas of northern Syria, a push for gender equality has given women like Ms. Shermooz significant power to enforce women’s rights. The authority wielded by women here — in the police, the courts and the militias — is patterned on the gender egalitarian philosophy of the Kurds’ ideological leader, Abdullah Ocalan.

The founder of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or P.K.K., Mr. Ocalan is serving a life sentence in Turkey on terrorism charges, and his organization is a designated terrorist organization according to the United States and the European Union. But his philosophy is widely popular among Kurds, particularly in northern Syria and eastern Turkey.

Six years of control of most of northern Syria have given the Kurds a chance to put into practice their gender reforms to an unprecedented degree, unhampered by interference from the Turkish government, which has cracked down on many of the women’s institutions in Kurdish-majority areas of Turkey.

By law, every government institution in Kurdish-controlled Syria has a co-president or co-chairman of each sex, and most government boards and committees have to be equally mixed by gender as well — except for women’s institutions, which are led by only women.

The Kurdish militias have separate Women’s Protection Units, or Y.P.J., which have been important partners with men’s units on the battlefield. When the Syrian Democratic Forces, an American-backed coalition, captured Raqqa from the Islamic State in October, the overall commander was a Y.P.J. woman, Rojda Felat.

“There are always men thinking that women are slaves, but when women are an armed force, men are scared of them,” said Arzu Demir, the Turkish author of a book on the Y.P.J. militias.

The Kurdish effort to enact gender equality has really been put to the test in places like Manbij, which is overwhelmingly Arab, and also conservative and tribal. The Kurdish-dominated Syrian Democratic Forces took control here about 18 months ago, in a campaign supported by American Special Operations forces and air power. While the Manbij Military Council, which is now in charge, is a majority Arab force, the new government is organized on Mr. Ocalan’s revolutionary principles.

Women were immediately given the right to divorce, previously a right reserved to men; to inherit property on an equal basis with men; and to keep their children and their homes in a marital breakup. Gone were long-observed Shariah law provisions that gave a woman’s testimony in court only half the weight of a man’s.

Those changes were not without pushback. The Kurdish majority area of Kobani in Syria, for instance, outlawed the practice of men taking more than one wife. But when officials tried to apply that restriction to Manbij, anger from tribal leaders led to the granting of an exception here.

Still, the Women’s House in Manbij right away began aggressively counseling wives whose husbands married a second time that they could divorce, and walk away with the children, the house and half of any property. The result has been some 200 divorces in the past year, mostly in cases of polygamy and underage marriage, said Widat Hayat an Arab woman and a sociologist who heads the research department at the Women’s House. It is an unprecedented number.

Many local men have found it difficult to reconcile the prosperity and stability the new government has brought with their own traditions.
A group of men in Amuda, in northern Syria. Many local men have found it difficult to reconcile the prosperity and stability the new government has brought with their own traditions. Credit Mauricio Lima for The New York Times

Abdul Aziz al-Hassin, 45, an Arab shopkeeper who has 14 children, agrees that “a woman has the same rights as a man, she’s not a slave or a servant.” But he still intends to take a second wife, he said, because his current one, also 45, can no longer bear children. How will she react to that? “I won’t tell her,” he said. “It’s none of her business.”

Attitudes like that die hard.

“When we opened the Women’s House, even we didn’t believe this was going to work here,” said Jihan Mustafa, one of the counselors who coach women on their rights, and help them through divorce, spousal abuse prosecutions and legal actions to force their husbands to better provide for their children. “Now as you see, it is always busy here.”

At the Women’s House in Manbij, halls, waiting rooms and consultation rooms were crowded with men and women — with many of the men visibly angry.

Ms. Mustafa is a Kurd, as were the first women’s activists here, but now other members of the Women’s House are Arabs, and most of their clients are as well. Manbij is heavily Arab, with minorities of Kurds and others. “There is real acceptance for it, just 18 months after the liberation of Manbij,” she said.

Acceptance is hardly universal, however, and many of those who are critical are also afraid to speak out publicly.

“To understand the current situation, think of ISIS, but at the other end of the spectrum,” said Abdul, 37, a teacher who spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of repercussions from Kurdish officials. “They never stop trying to impose codes and teachings that contradict our cultural norms and conservative views,” he said. “And they insist on having a female presence in everything, which has made them hire unqualified females in posts they don’t know how to handle.”
Children play in a heavily bombed area in Kobani, in northern Syria. After Kurds took control of the area, women were immediately given the right to divorce, previously a right reserved to men; to inherit property on an equal basis with men; and to keep their children and their homes in a marital breakup. Credit Mauricio Lima for The New York Times

Kurdish leaders are aware of the discontent, but say the changes they are bringing are long overdue and are gaining acceptance, especially among younger Arab women.

“Most men don’t accept it, but we speak to women and try to make society understand why it is not good, for instance, to have more than one wife,” said Isam Abdul Qader, an Arab member of the Manbij Women’s Council, another organization that advocates women’s equality. It also sends teams of women door to door in neighborhoods and villages, where they ask to come in and explain to the women their new rights.

“Many men don’t let us in at first,” said Hana Sharif, a Kurdish council member. “We just go back two or three times. Little by little, it is working.”

Maja al-Ali, 25, is an Arab woman member of the council who said the new local government has changed her life. “Before I just stayed in the house and I couldn’t even wake up in the morning,” she said. “Now I have character and a role in society. Now I get up in the morning, I have meetings and do things, and I love life now.”

At the request of local women, the council has started a driving school for them. Recently, some women in Manbij have asked the women’s council to set up firearms courses to teach civilian women how to defend themselves.

“It is about time,” Ms. Sharif said, “that we have all of our rights.”

The New York Times

Women’s Protection Units- YPJ

Meet the Kurdish women of the YPJ on the frontline of war against ISIS: as fighters, as medics, as journalists. Meet these heroines and the ideology that drives them. „The victory of Kobane was epic, and with the participation of women, it became heroic. The identity that YPJ earned, didn‘t only concern women of Rojava, but women all over the world. If the Kurdish resistance remained unnoticed until the battle of Kobane, the women’s resistance there gave birth to a symbol that transcended any previous conception of women’s capabilities.. We saw it as a battle between humanity and barbarity, between freedom and tyranny“.

Syrian Kurds outraged over mutilation of female fighter

Turkish-backed rebels accused of filming mistreatment of Women’s Protection Units member
Barin Kobani

Syrian Kurds have accused Turkish-backed rebels of mutilating then filming the body of one of their female fighters after a video emerged of her corpse.

Turkey and allied Syrian rebels have pressed an offensive since 20 January against the Kurdish enclave of Afrin in northern Syria, whose Kurdish fighters Ankara views as terrorists.

A Kurdish official identified the woman as Barin Kobani, who took part in a US-backed campaign to drive the Islamic State jihadist group from the northern town of Kobani.

The Kurds blamed the “terrorist allies of the enemy Turkish state” for mutilating the body of Kobani, who was a member of the all-female Kurdish Women’s Protection Units.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a monitoring group based in Britain, said it received the video from a Syrian rebel fighting with Turkish forces in the Afrin offensive.

The rebel told the group the footage was filmed on Tuesday after rebels found the young woman’s corpse in the village of Qurna near the Turkish border in the north of the enclave. In the footage, a dozen men, some armed, gather around the badly mutilated body of a woman lying on the ground.

The Kurdish community reacted with outrage, and social media users shared a portrait of Kobani smiling next to another shot of her brutalised body.

“Barin did not surrender. She fought to the death,” said Amad Kandal, an official with the Women’s Protection Units, vowing to avenge her comrade’s brutal murder. “This kind of behaviour will only serve to reinforce our determination to resist until victory.”

Male and female YPG fighters have taken part in the battle by the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) to expel Isis from large parts of Syria.

An SDF spokesman, Mustefa Bali, said the video was reason to continue fighting back against Turkey and its allies. “Imagine the savagery of these invaders with the bodies of our daughters. How would they behave if they took control of our neighbourhoods?” he wrote on Facebook. “All this hatred and barbarity leaves us with a single option: to continue the resistance.”

An Afrin resident Hussein Cheikho, 65, said he was “deeply pained” when he saw pictures of Kobani’s mutilated body but said her death would not be in vain. “The death of a young man or a young woman will not weaken us. Out strength will be bolstered every day,” he said.

The Syrian National Council, the main opposition body in exile, condemned the “criminal acts” and called for “an immediate investigation to punish those responsible.

The Guardian



Barin Kobani

YPJ/YJŞ flags wave proudly in Raqqa as revenge for all women

Raqqa was the so-called capital of ISIS. When the YPJ took a leading position in the Operation to Liberate Raqqa, they vowed to avenge the women fell victim to massacres. Now flags of the YPJ and YJŞ are fluttering in the wind in Raqqa’s city centre.

70% of Raqqa city, which ISIS had declared the capital of its darkness, has been cleared of the ISIS gangs. The city has not been liberated entirely but flags of the Rojavan Women’s Army, the Women’s Defense Units YPJ, and the Military Force of Shengal’s Women, YJŞ (Shengal Women’s Units), have been planted and are fluttering already in Raqqa’s city centre.

The female fighters are taking revenge for the feminicide on ISIS day by day. Screams and cries for help of helpless women are no longer filling the air of Raqqa city. Now only the ululation of the female warriors reverberates in Raqqa.

When the Operation Wrath of Euphrates was freshly launched, the Women’s Defense Units (YPJ) announced that this operation would be an offensive under the lead and command of the women. There was a meaning behind this. In 2014, when ISIS declared itself the „Islamic state“, it directed its attacks on the women in the first place. They targeted women in their sermons and passed dirty and rotten laws. The ISIS gangs mass raped thousands of women, massacred thousands more, abducted thousands of women and sold them as slaves. In particular during their attack on Shengal they kidnapped thousands of Êzidî women and sold them in slave markets. They sent most of those women to Raqqa. Every chunk of soil of the Raqqa city is stained with the blood of these women, who have been murdered, raped and sold. ISIS hit the women in their heart and brain. In response to that the female fighters have taken an oath to strike the heart and brain of ISIS heavily.


YPJ gave this promise to all women and initiated their struggle on this basis. After some time also the Shengal Women’s Units set off to join the operation of revenge. YJŞ fighters stated: „We, the Êzidî women, are joining the war in Raqqa to avenge all the women.“ The YPJ and YJŞ fighters have taken position at the very front lines in this battle. Thus every blow that has been dealt to the ISIS gangs, is part of the revenge taken for the women.


As for now, about 70% of Raqqa has been liberated from the ISIS gangs. The flags of the YPJ and YJŞ are fluttering freely in the wind in many places of Raqqa city. The ISIS gangs are suffering the worst imaginable death at the hands of the women, since they believe to not go to paradise if they get killed by a woman. Women are sending them directly to hell. The flags of the YPJ and YJŞ are waving proudly in the wind as the historic revenge of every single woman that has been abducted, sold and murdered.


Raqqa, which witnessed the desperate screams and cries for help of the women 4 years long, is now bearing witness to the rise of women, who have become free and are now taking their historic revenge. Screams and cries are not escaping the city any longer. But now the ululation of the women fighters is reverberating.


EXCLUSIVE: Yazidi female fighters on Charlottesville: ‘Unite against fascism’

Members of the Yazidi Sinjar Women’s Units (YJŞ) currently fighting the Islamic State in its self-declared capital Raqqa, have sent an exclusive photograph to The Region in which they commemorate Heather Heyer, the anti-fascist activist killed in Charlottesville.

The four women are seen in the photograph making victory signs and holding two messages written in black ink on white paper in front of a YJŞ flag and poster of imprisoned Kurdistan Worker’s party (PKK) leader Abdullah Ocalan. One of the messages reads, ‘R.I.P Heather Heyer,’ while the other states, ‘Unite against fascism,’ with #Charlottesville written to the side.

In a short statement sent to The Region along with the photograph, the women said they were deeply affected by Heather Heyer’s death and called her “a martyr.”

“As women who have suffered at the hands of Daesh [ISIS] we know well the dangers that fascist, racist, patriarchal and nationalist groups and organisations pose. Once again men of this mind-set, this time in America, have martyred a woman, Heather Heyer, who was resisting against the division and destruction of communities.”

Thirty-two -year-old Heather Heyer was killed after a vehicle driven by white-supremacist James Alex Fields Jr., rammed into a group of counter protestors demonstrating against a “Unite the Right” rally organised by white nationalist and far-right groups in Charlottesville, Virginia.

The statement went on to say that women across the world had stood with the Yazidis following the Islamic State attack on Sinjar in August 2014 – during which thousands of women belonging to the minority religious group were killed and kidnapped – and that now Yazidi women were “organised and strong enough to fight back.”

“We believe that Heather Heyer’s struggle is our struggle and that the fight against fascism is a global battle. For this reason, we are calling on women around the world to unite against fascism and put an end to terrorist groups like Daesh and those made from the same cloth that kill women like Heather.”

The YJŞ was established in October 2015 to “protect the Yazidi population” according to the group’s founding document. The all-female group is allied to the Sinjar Resistance Units (YBŞ), which was trained by the PKK, and adheres to the ideology of its imprisoned leader Ocalan.

The Region

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