"Ultimately, the constitutional referendum in Turkey highlights one of the central quandaries inherent in the notion of democracy: the difficulty in disentangling democratic means from democratic ends. Whether a constitution is written by a military junta or by a civilian government has no bearing on whether the constitution can secure rights, plurality, judicial independence, freedom of expression, civil disobedience—in short, whether the constitution can do the work of democracy. While Erdoğan’s victory in the referendum will surely have nondemocratic ends—as we have already seen with Erdoğan using his victory speech to herald the return of the death penalty, or the post-referendum arrest of dozens involved with the “NO” campaign—it was couched in the language of democracy, won by democratic means, and achieved through liberal, democratic institutions. If opposition to Erdoğan’s tightening grip on the state apparatus is going to have any success, it first needs to recognize that his antidemocratic practices are not a crisis in Turkish politics, but instead represent the culmination of longstanding governmental logics and political discourses."
"Since the elections of June 2015, Turkey has been in a state of ever-worsening turmoil. The AKP successfully managed to block the establishment of a coalition government based on the June election results, as a consequence of which Turkey was constitutionally obligated to hold another election in November of 2015. The interceding months between June and November of that year witnessed the suicide bombing in Suruç as well as the suicide bombing in Ankara. The government called an end to a ceasefire agreement that it had made with Abdullah Öcalan, the imprisoned leader of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). A state of emergency was imposed in Turkey’s Kurdish regions, with 'twenty-four hour martial lockdowns' that lasted for months on end in some places. Under this state of emergency, a ten-year-old girl named Cemile Çağırga was shot and killed by Turkish armed forces and her family had to keep her body in a freezer because they couldn’t leave the house – let alone make funerary arrangements – under the state of emergency. Kurdish human rights advocate Tahir Elçi was shot and killed by unknown assailants in Diyarbakır. As one commentator wrote in October 2015, less than a month before the new election, we have lost too much.'"
CO-WRITTEN WITH DEFNE KADIOĞLU
"While the Kurdish region has historically been governed through underdevelopment leaving the population relatively poor and isolated from state services, it seems that we are currently witnessing the dawn of a new form of neoliberal governance. Just as the AKP has been unwilling and unable to continue peace negotiation talks with Kurdish representatives, it has also been unable to push for urban renewal and reinvestment in the Southeast, as the example of Sur and the resistance on part of its residents to relocate is proof of. The destruction of the region’s urban areas—including infrastructure that provides basic needs like electricity and water—and the prolonged curfews that are forcing residents out of their homes have shown to be an effective technique for pushing the AKP’s agenda. Destruction and reconstruction here are two sides of the same neoliberal coin."
"Kurds and Alevis killed by the state and its actors are fundamentally unmournable. In order to maintain the illusion of its own legitimacy, the state has to frame such deaths as either meaningless, necessary, or both. Mournability is a privilege reserved for those whose deaths corroborate this illusion; hence the emotional outpouring over the deaths of police officers and soldiers who have been “martyred” in the line of duty. Mourning and grief are therefore better understood as affective tools used to patrol the boundaries of the nation-state, providing meaning, solace, and comfort to those who belong within it while permitting for the remorseless annihilation of those who do not."
An interview with Sebahat Tuncel, Co-written with Sarah Wagemans and Peter Terryn (in Dutch)
"Ik kan enkel spreken uit naam van de Koerdische vrouwen. Op het Congres voor de Vrijheid van Vrouwen is dat eigenlijk de enige manier waarop we werken en de vrouwen die actief zijn binnen de Vrouwenbeweging doen dat op verschillende niveaus. Sommigen zijn parlementslid, sommigen zijn werkzaam in de lokale besturen, voor burgerorganisaties of NGO’s, maar ik denk dat het heel erg belangrijk is dat vrouwen over hun eigen tijd en ruimte beschikken om te kunnen werken en samen te kunnen komen binnen hun eigen platform, dus mijn suggestie is dat als jullie met een hoop vrouwen een groep aan het vormen zijn, dat jullie dan contact zoeken met vrouwen van andere groeperingen binnen de samenleving en het is belangrijk dat ze hun eigen specifieke mechanisme hanteren waarmee ze hun politieke doeleinden kunnen bepalen. Een van de dingen waarin de Koerdische Vrouwenbeweging succesvol is geweest, is het principe dat vrouwen zichzelf moeten redden, dat ze uit het patriarchale systeem moeten stappen en hun eigen ruimte moeten creëren waarin ze politieke nieuwe ideeën kunnen genereren, waar ze politieke discussies kunnen houden en dat is wat tot nu toe bepalend is geweest voor de Beweging."
"The active participation of women in the HDP is not an anomaly. The co-presidency system has been a fixture of Kurdish political parties since the pro-Kurdish Democratic Society Party (Demokratik Toplum Partisi, or DTP) was founded in 2005. Women have played an important role in the Kurdish freedom movement since the emergence and rise of the PKK in the late 1970s and early 1980s. The writings of the PKK and of its leader, Abdullah Öcalan, lay out a political vision predicated on the emancipation of women and the destruction of patriarchy as essential to the liberation of Kurdistan. In addition to participating in the Kurdish freedom movement as a whole, Kurdish women and Kurdish feminists have developed spaces, such as the Congress of Free Women (Kongra Jinên Azad), independent from men, where they are able to organize themselves and develop the course of their political struggles; the Kurdish freedom movement and the HDP take their lessons and cultivate their political positions accordingly."