Bakur Delegation 2024: Their role if elected is to get the state out of the way!

A group of internationalist comrades are currently in Bakur (north Kurdistan/southern Turkey) at the invitation of the Kurdish leftist DEM Party. Two delegations—Jin and general—will be attending Newroz celebrations, meeting with representatives of political structures and observing the upcoming municipal elections.

Today we visited with the Immigration and Humanitarian Aid Association and Jin News.

Since moving to Amed (the capital city of the Kurdish region of Bakur within Turkey) the Immigration and Humanitarian Aid Association has changed its focus from supporting women to working with children, as there were many women’s associations working in the field already. Among other things, the group organizes storytelling workshops for children in their mother tongue. The activist told us that the stories children tell show that they know nothing about their home but state violence. A large part of the group’s work is to uncover the history of the places the children come from and create new stories so that the children have more than the oppressive violent memories.

The group also runs workshops focused on what the children would like to change about the city and what would make them feel safe. These demands were taken to the DEM Party (the current electoral expression of the Kurdistan freedom movement) and will be included in policies if the party is elected. The DEM Party works like no other political party I have ever seen. Their role if elected is to get the state out of the way! Winning the elections, however, does not mean victory in authoritarian Turkey. After the last election, though many of the movement’s delegates were elected, they were dismissed by the central Turkish government and replaced with state officials – ‘trustees’, or ‘kayyım’ in Turkish. These trustees then heavily repressed the local autonomous organizing. They closed many grassroots projects including particularly women’s groups and sent many people to prison.

We also met with Jin News. We spoke extensively about anti-patriarchal journalism, the fake idea of neutrality and how Jineoloji (science of women – the epistemological framework developed by the women’s part of the Kurdistan freedom movement) guides their work. Jin News have Jineoloji educations every week and are constantly developing their methods and criticizing their past work. The journalists are also activists and are part of the movement they write about. They write in a contextualized way about women’s issues, which mean almost everything in local context, and issues like the economy, ecology or war as they all affect women. They write about the violence that women face without taking away their agency and only portraying them as victims.

The Kurdish press corps’ motto is we are struggling for the truth!

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