Feminism in Turkey – an Epic Battle With a Neoliberal Conservative President

On the Barricades podcast with İrem Kayıkçı

Being a feminist in a conservative country with a government that overtly fights to limit the rights of women can be a very challenging task. Nevertheless, there are fierce women that do not back down from attacks directed at them and their liberties. We invited such a woman on the Barricades!

İrem Kayıkçı, from the feminist organization Mor Dayanışma (Purple Solidarity) in Turkey, agreed to discuss the decision of president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan of withdrawing from the Istanbul Convention. Irem is part of a major grass-roots feminist organization in Turkey that has dozens of branches all over Turkey and she, as a socialist feminist, is part of their collective struggle with a neoliberal ultra-conservative government that aims to take back some of the important rights that women in Turkey have gained.

Turkey is a country with very high levels of domestic violence, ending in the murder of hundreds of women. The feminist organizations, according to İrem Kayıkçı, show that more than 300 women were murdered by men last year and the number is growing.

Maria Cernat and Boyan Stanislavski wanted to analyze the possible reasons motivating president Erdoğan as well as the structural causes of such high levels of male violence against women. Irem provided useful data regarding unemployment among Turkish women as well as very insightful opinions on how a mass grass-roots feminist organization is the only way to fight a very aggressive conservative president.

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