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Turkey’s women determined to seize equality, freedom despite all obstacles

Last month, Turkey’s southeastern Diyarbakır province witnessed the brutal murder of a young woman by her brother, an incident that was caught on the security cameras of a nearby police station. Footage showed Abdullah Şaylemez firing five shots at his 34-year-old sister Gülistan Şaylemez, before fleeing the crime scene in a hurry. About 10 days […]

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The children of an ‘incomprehensible language’

Last week, while strolling through the streets of Sur, I came across a group of girls and started a conversation with them. Can they attend online classes, do they have tablets or phones, how are their days during the pandemic… As I talked to them, I realised the reason why the girls looked at me […]

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Diyarbakır’s Sur: where our 7,000 year-old home is up for sale

The neighbourhood of Sur in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeastern province of Diyarbakır is our home of 7,000 years. The ancient neighbourhood, which once flourished as a popular tourism destination in the heart of the Kurdish capital of Amed, and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, has been through hell over the last six years. Destroyed […]

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How the pandemic is affecting schooling for children in Turkey’s southeast

Political and civil society representatives in Turkey’s Kurdish-majority southeastern Diyabakır province last week issued a statement pertaining to the pandemic-prompted educational problems facing students in the region. The coronavirus pandemic has virtually halted schooling in this underdeveloped province that is home to Turkey’s highest unemployment rate and officials are warning that if the current trajectory […]

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‘My father was a seasonal worker; I am a garbage worker’

Ali lives in one of the Karacadağ villages lined between Turkey’s southeastern provinces of Diyarbakır and Şanlıurfa. Like many young people living in those villages, the 17-year-old goes to work collecting and sorting garbage every year. Ali asked to use a pseudonym for this article. “We can find jobs in metropolitan cities like Istanbul, Izmir, […]

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Our hearts remain in prison again this new year

“OK,” I say to the children, “We are all overwhelmed in these corona days. Let’s decorate the house, the new year is coming. Down with the corona and with 2020. Let’s enter 2021 with hope. Come on, let’s make popcorn.” While I make the popcorn, I think of my dear friend Osman Kavala, who remains in […]