“Sexual violence targets the Kurdish people as a whole and the social identity of the Kurds, as well as its soul of resistance. So it constitutes an essential part of the genocidal policy,” writes Meral Çiçek for Yeni Özgür Politika.
Rape, as a systematic weapon, is as old as wars and invasions. The fact that sexual violence has actually been conducted systematically against modern day society as a whole began to be recognised only after the wars in Rwanda and the Balkans during the 1990s.
The United Nations (UN) Security Council’s resolution no. 1820 dated 2008, concluded that rape and all sorts of sexual violence during the time of war constitute war crimes and crimes against humanity.
A new UN special envoy for sexual violence in conflict zones was introduced in accordance with this resolution. As the recently published annual report of this special envoy lists, countries in which rape is used as an instrument of war include Afghanistan, Colombia, Congo, Iraq, Libya, Mali, Somalia, Myanmar, Sudan, Syria, Yemen, Bosnia and Sri Lanka. There is no mention of Turkey.
However, the Turkish state has always used sexual violence against Kurds as an instrument of war. It adopted rape as a state policy for eliminating the Kurdish freedom movement right from the very beginning.
Sexual violence has always been one of the most popular war tactics to crush the honour and will of the resisting Kurds everywhere, from prisons to mountains, from villages to big cities.
This tactic has gradually been refined. Today, the policy of sexual violence against the Kurds is not practiced only by those ‘in uniform’. In other words, it’s no more only the members of the state forces in the torture chamber or in the invasion operations, but also the state officials in civilian clothes who are carrying out the policy of rape.
Be it during the work hours or out of work hours, the policy of rape against the Kurds is a duty for all elements of the state. Hence they do not only have the ‘right’ to exercise sexual violence, but they are also required to do it.
The recent court decisions in the trials of former army sergeant Musa Orhan and teacher Burak Ercan have revealed this fact once again. Neither Musa Orhan who had sexually assaulted İpek Er and caused her demise, nor Burak Ercan who sexually abused more than 40 students in the district of Cizre have been arrested.
The court of the fascist state does not give the order for their arrest, because the two have loyally carried out the policy of the state. It is this fact that is at the root of the impunity.
The issue is not simply the protection of rapists by the state (although this is actually also a fact in Turkey); it’s also the impunity for those who have acted in accordance with a particular war policy and strategy when it is the Kurds that are concerned.
This war policy has its roots in colonialism. Sexual violence targets the Kurdish people as a whole aiming at the social identity of the Kurds as well as its soul of resistance. So it constitutes an essential part of the genocidal policy.
The popularity of sexual violence today is an indication of the level that the genocidal policy targeting the Kurds has reached. In other words, policies of elimination -covert or plain- are now carried out in every circle of life.
The whole of Kurdish society is the target of these policies, from the children in the classroom to adolescents, from women to elders, from the organised individuals to apolitical ones.
The international establisment has always turned a blind eye to the Turkish Republic’s genocidal war against the Kurds. It’s branded the existential struggle of a whole people as ‘terrorism’ while it had no problem with colonialism. Hence it is blind to the war of occupation and armed conflicts in the Kurdish lands, nor has it recognised the sexual violence that has been escalated in this context. This is both a particular approach and a calculated policy.
The recent 16-day campaign against violence targeting women has continued to this day since the 25th of November.
This year’s campaign has focused on sexual violence as a form of male violence. It’s time to reveal how the colonialist aspect of sexual violence is demonstrated in the practices of the fascist Turkish Republic, an enemy of women.