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Kurdish women issue appeal for international solidarity

Call comes after leading activist Ayse Gokhan is issued with an arrest warrant

KURDISH women in Turkey have appealed for international solidarity after an arrest warrant was issued today for Free Women’s Movement (TJA) chair Ayse Gokhan.

Prosecutors are believed to be pressing for a lengthy prison sentence for Ms Gokhan, who has been detained 83 times as part of what activists have termed Turkey’s “war against women.”

TJA spokeswoman Zelal Bligin told the Morning Star that Ms Gokhan had continued her activism despite threats and intimidation by the Turkish state, which has sought to criminalise organised women.

Ms Bligin insisted that the arrest warrant was politically motivated and had no legal basis, describing it as an “act of revenge” by a male-dominated political system.

“We will continue our struggle without backing down for a moment,” she said. 

The former mayor of Nusaybin, on Turkey’s border with Syria, was detained last summer and again in October as part of wider Turkish state attacks on the Kurdish women’s movement, in which scores of organisations were shut down and 54 arrests made.

The repression seeks to weaken resistance to the misogynistic policies of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), including a law granting amnesty to rapists and paedophiles if they marry their victims and plans to withdraw from the Istanbul Convention on combating misogynistic violence.

In July, Rojbin Cetin, a TJA activist and Peoples Democratic Party (HDP) supporter, was horrifically tortured during an interrogation in her own home, being mauled by dogs in a three-and-a-half-hour ordeal.

Former HDP MP for Hakkari Leyla Guven was jailed for 22 years and seven months in December on trumped-up terrorism charges for her defiant stand against President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Last week, another TJA member, Fatma Gul was jailed for seven years and six months for “membership of a terrorist organisation” relating to her women’s movement activities.

Kurdish women called on those in Britain to raise their voices against rising femicide in Turkey and join them in building networks of resistance.

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