Diversifying feminism in Turkey in the 1990s
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This thesis attempts to diversify feminism in Turkey with a particular reference to Kurdish women’s relationship with the feminist movement in Turkey in the 1990s. The thesis argues that feminism in Turkey, to a large extent, has been ethnicity-blind as it has been implicitly assumed that all women in Turkey are of Turkish ethnic origin. Yet it is claimed that, of a different ethnic origin, Kurdish women undergo a dual oppression and subordination due both to their gender and ethnic origin. In this context, a relationship will be constructed between Black women’s experience in the West and that of Kurdish women in Turkey. These arguments will be based on a review of the relevant literature in addition to in-depth interviews carried out with nine politically active Kurdish women. Furthermore, it will be argued that Kurdish women’s political activism in the 1990s’ Turkey as ‘Kurdish women’ emanates from the fact that they were not recognized as ‘Kurdish’ women by the feminist movement on the one hand, and not as ‘women’ by Kurdish nationalism on the other. Despite these drawbacks of the two movements under consideration, it will be indicated that, Kurdish women’s political activism might be considered as a consequence of the configuration of these two movements. Moreover, this thesis argues that, among the many strands of the feminist theories, Black feminism has important insights in understanding and explaining the specific form of oppression and subordination of Kurdish women in Turkey.