A persistent ‘special war’ is being waged on Kurdish women and youth in spite of governmental shifts in Turkey, with law enforcement at the forefront of these troubling policies, according to Sevim Çiçek, a women’s rights advocate.
Speaking to the Mezopotamya Agency on Sunday, Çiçek, who is also the Van (Wan) representative of the Human Rights Foundation of Turkey, drew attention to the unchanged status of these policies which, she claimed, operate through women’s bodies. Key practices involve violence against women, harassment, rape and grooming into prostitution and into substance abuse. These concerns were crystallised in a recent incident in Van, where six intoxicated sergeants were arrested for harassing two women in a restaurant, although the aftermath of the arrests remains unclear.
“In Kurdistan [Turkey’s Kurdish-majority southeastern region], young people and women are the primary targets of these policies,” Çiçek noted. “On one hand, there is an attempt to drag them into prostitution and drug addiction, while on the other, efforts are made to turn them into spies [for the Turkish security forces].” Soldiers and police officers, exploiting their uniforms, have become executors of these policies, she added.
Furthermore, Çiçek highlighted that those desiring to speak out against these policies often face accusations, creating an atmosphere of impunity that only serves to deepen the existing violence in both Kurdish-majority cities and elsewhere in Turkey.
Çiçek concluded her statement with a call to action, urging all women to unite and organise against this dark mentality. “The only thing we need to do, aware of the responsibility that falls on each of us, is to come together as all women, with no ‘ifs’ or ‘buts’, and shatter this dark mentality through organised struggle,” she advocated.