Purple Line: Framing the Backlash against Gender Equality and Strategies of Resistance in Turkey
Turkey announced in March 2021 its withdrawal from the Istanbul Convention – a human rights treaty on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence. This was despite intense protests from women’s right organisations and lawyers, and amidst national uprisings. The official statement from the Government to withdraw from the Convention stated that it “was hijacked by a group of people attempting to normalize homosexuality – which is incompatible with Türkiye’s social and family values.” This withdrawal resulted from the top-down and bottom-up backlash that has been ongoing since 2016, targeting women’s and LGBTQI+ rights. Increasing frequency of femicides, and incidents that violate civil and legal human rights are other significant consequences of this backlash. Women’s rights and LGBTQI+ organisations, amongst others, supported each other to counter the backlash against these rights.
Purpose of research
This grant will be used investigate top-down and bottom-up backlash against gender equality and women’s rights, as well as the strategies developed by women’s rights organisations and human rights activists to respond to this. The researcher will review existing literature, interview lawyers, feminist activists and academics The findings will be disseminated through podcasts, blogposts, and social media platforms.
Gender Backlash in Turkey: The Case of State-Sponsored KADEM
Promoting family-values and being active in campaigns against gender violence in Turkey has made KADEM a focus of gender backlash. KADEM (Kadın ve Demokrasi Derneği in Turkish, The Women and Democracy Association in English) is a government-sponsored Islamic feminist organisation in Turkey. The organisation is seen as an ‘acceptable face’ of women’s rights in the country and promotes conservative family-values in-line with the ruling Justice and Development Party’s (Adalet ve Kalkınma Partisi in Turkish) politics. This is seen as deeply patriarchal and opposed to any emancipatory feminist politics.
Purpose of research
The researcher will analyse KADEM’s publications, their media mentions, as well as carry out interviews with Islamic-feminist organisations and Islamic organisations. The aim is to support a network of feminist scholars working against gender backlash to pro-duce more efficient strategies to resist gender backlash in Turkey.