Some notes from a speech given by Ayşe Gökkan, of the Free Women Movement

Some notes from a speech given in Elazığ province by Ayşe Gökkan, of the Free Women Movement, Kurdistan. 30th march 2019

The notes were taken by a member of the election monitoring delegation for the Turkish municipal elections.

“Our experience is a non-state experience and also we are part of the Middle East. We are sharing information on behalf of people in the Middle East fighting ISIS.

It has been more than four decades that we have been struggling against violence towards women.

The resistance of Kurdish women has deep roots in the Kurdish struggle. Sakine Cansiz was killed in France and she started her resistance in the ’80s in prison in Diyarbakır. Leyla Güven also started her resistance in prison in Diyarbakır.

Ours is a non-state struggle. We did not get any success with the Turkish state in the Middle East. We are part of the women’s struggle in the world.

The Kurdish women’s struggle and the struggle of women in the world have differences. For Kurdistan, the guerilla movement and struggle started in small villages. It was a great synergy of women who didn’t know each other but they were struggling for women’s rights together.

During the 90s, abuse of women was increasing. During 1993 Sukran Cingar was abused in a police station . This was the first case that we took to the court of human rights. It was very difficult. This is just one example I give.

It was the Kurdish political movement that put the co-chair system in place without the state.

As non-state experiences we put our rules in a social contract. In every organisation the social contract is implemented. Especially in the administration and the municipalities.

As the Free Women Movement we are part of a confederation. Thinking about Kurdistan there are other minorities and identities living here. Their inclusion to our movement is vital to us. Kurdish people have different religious identities.

The Women’s Youth Movement is autonomous. In all organisations, 20% should consist of youths too.

We are trying to spread jineologi to the whole world. It is the science of the life of women. In every part of life we need women.

In the peace talks with Öcalan in Imralı, one of the members of the delegation was a woman. In every part of the movement, for example the cooperatives, we have 50% quota for women.

We used to have more than 100 municipalities but after the 2015 events the state governors have been implemented instead of elected mayors. All our organsiations were closed but after that we re-opened them, this is part of the non-state experience. Also, we are part of the world women’s conference; in the whole world we are part of the women’s struggle.

The 1st January attack that killed Sakine in Paris. This is a special date that we commemorate. It represents the killing of women politicians in the world. Another special day is the attack on Şengal, and this was an attack on women of the world. We would be happy for you to commemorate these days marking attacks on women of the world.

If one woman is not free, we will carry on til every woman is free. That’s why we are calling on women of the world. If you are not part of our struggle, you are not going to be free either.

Leyla Güven is a part of the Free Women Movement. It has been 144 days that she has been on hunger strike. The isolation of Abdullah Öcalan is also the isolation of all women.

In the whole world, 11,000 people have signed a petition to remove the isolation of Öcalan and to support Leyla. In Turkey also more than 500 women have started a campaign to raise the voice of Leyla. We have also sent 9000 letters and postcards to the Ministry of Justice to raise Leyla’s voice, that we are sharing our struggle and we fight with you. We would be happy if you would spread these ideas about Leyla around the world.

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