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 KCK arrests are an attack on the struggle for women's rights: Ann-Margarethe Livh

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KCK arrests are an attack on the struggle for women's rights: Ann-Margarethe Livh  8.12.2011  

December 8, 2011

DIYARBAKIR, The Kurdish region of Turkey, KCK Diyarbakir trial observer Ann-Margarethe Livh from the Swedish Left Party said in interview on women rights that women in Turkey knew how to focus their struggle. "Even if most of these women are in jail because of the KCK trial, they will not give up".

Bianet talked to Ann-Margarethe Livh from the Swedish Left Party about the women movement in Turkey and the trial on the Union of Kurdish Communities (KCK), the umbrella organization that includes the armed outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK).

Livh, President of the Stockholm Equality Commission, came to Diyarbakır to observe the KCK trial that was heard on 6 December.

The Swedish politician closely follows human rights violations      

KCK Diyarbakir trial observer Ann-Margarethe Livh from the Swedish Left Party. Photo:
in Turkey and other countries and also keeps track of the women's movement.

"People all around the world are struggling and gaining rights. It is a big question why in Turkey these gained rights cannot be obtained. Looking from outside, it seems rather 'strange' that Kurds are not given their fundamental rights", Livh indicated.

"Evaluating this situation in comparison with other countries, I think that this problem stems from factors like nationalism and conservatism", she continued.

Livh said that Turkey was opening up and backsliding at the same time. "When I was in Turkey during the 1980's we were not even able to use the word 'Kurd'. There has been a [positive] development in this aspect. However, the KCK trial and all the related arrests represent a serious downturn".

"KCK arrests are an attack on the struggle for women's rights"

Livh mentioned that many women were arrested in the scope of the KCK operations. In her opinion, this equals an attack on the women's struggle at the same time:

"I know some of the women who are being prosecuted in the KCK trial personally or due to work. I know them as democrats and persons who actively participate in the struggle for women's rights. This is one of the reasons why I am observing this trial".

"It is ridiculous that these women are being tried despite the importance of making their voices heard and their struggle visible. I consider this as an attack on the struggle for women's rights", she claimed.

"Women in Turkey do not give up"

The Swedish Left Party does not have a women's branch because feminism is part of the fundamental party program anyways. Livh criticized that most of the political parties in Turkey did not give priority to women's issues in their policies and that the people struggling for it were being imprisoned.

"Comparing the BDP [Peace and Democracy Party] with the [ruling] Justice and Development Party (AKP) and other parties, we see that they advocate for much more progressive policies. The BDP is the party with the highest number of woman deputies and woman representatives in parliamentary commissions", Livh stated.

"But these women who are doing important work on increasing the visibility of women and their participation in social life and politics are currently in prison although there is no evidence against them".

"Despite of all these circumstances, the women's movement is taking an incredible success. They never give up. This is the most important point", Livh emphasized.

"The women know whom they have to fight with"

Livh attended the second day of the Workshop for Women Rights and said that this sort of activities strengthened solidarity.

"The awareness of the women here is very high. They know what they have to do and whom they have to fight with. They do very important work in spite of insufficient resources".

"Solidarity is strengthened even further by women who come here from different places and institutions to share their experiences and opinions".


Since it was established in 1984, the Kurdistan Workers' Party PKK has been fighting the Turkish state, which still denies the constitutional existence of Kurds, to establish a Kurdish state in the south east of the country, sparking a conflict that has claimed some 45,000 lives.

But now its aim is the creation an autonomous Kurdish region and more cultural rights for ethnic Kurds who constitute the greatest minority in Turkey, numbering more than 20 million. A large Turkey's Kurdish community openly sympathise with the Kurdish PKK rebels.

PKK's demands included releasing PKK detainees, lifting the ban on education in Kurdish, paving the way for an autonomous democrat Kurdish system within Turkey, reducing pressure on the detained PKK leader Abdullah calan, stopping military action against the Kurdish party and recomposing the Turkish constitution.

Turkey refuses to recognize its Kurdish population as a distinct minority. It has allowed some cultural rights such as limited broadcasts in the Kurdish language and private Kurdish language courses with the prodding of the European Union, but Kurdish politicians say the measures fall short of their expectations.

The PKK is considered as 'terrorist' organization by Ankara, U.S., the PKK continues to be on the blacklist list in EU despite court ruling which overturned a decision to place the Kurdish rebel group PKK and its political wing on the European Union's terror list. 

Copyright 2011, respective author or news agency, | | Agencies


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