A series of memorial events took place across both Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KRI) and Turkey to honour the life and legacy of Nagihan Akarsel, a Kurdish feminist journalist and scholar gunned down outside her home one year ago. The commemorations drew a diverse crowd, including activists, politicians and family members, united in respect for Akarsel’s work.
The events marked the first anniversary of Akarsel’s 4 October 2022 death, a brutal killing which rocked the international community. At the site of the shooting in KRI’s Sulaymaniyah (Silêmanî), attendees laid flowers and vowed to continue her mission for Kurdish rights and women’s liberation.
Meanwhile, in Konya, Turkey, the gathering drew representatives from various organisations and political parties. Among them were members of the women’s movement Tevgera Jinên Azad (TJA – Free Women’s Movement), staff from Jineolojî women’s magazine, and politicians from the pro-Kurdish Green Left Party (YSP), Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), and Democratic Regions Party (DBP). YSP MP Adalet Kaya emphasised that Akarsel’s pioneering work must be upheld.
Additional ceremonies were also held in Mardin (Mêrdîn) and Adana, organised by TJA and the HDP Women’s Council. In Mardin, a visual tribute featuring photographs of Akarsel was displayed, and candles lit in her memory. At the Adana event, a speech was delivered by HDP Seyhan District Co-Chair Şükran Efetür.
Akarsel was a founding member of the Jineolojî Academy and was highly regarded for her feminist activism and journalistic work. She is believed to have been assassinated in a joint intelligence operation by the Turkish government and the KRI’s Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP). Her death has since become a rallying point for those advocating for women’s rights and press freedom.