Radical Film Network statement against the detention of Kurdish women activists in Diyarbakir

12 April 2022

As filmmakers, activists and scholars, we strongly denounce the arrest of 25 women activists in the Kurdish-majority province of Diyarbakır in Turkey on 16–17 March 2022. This happened as part of an anti-feminist investigation that is targeting those participating in protests including the International Women’s Day rally, a demonstration on 25 November marking the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, and a protest against Turkey’s withdrawal from the İstanbul Convention on action against violence against women and domestic violence.

Among the detainees were the president and two members of women’s association Rosa Kadın Derneği, co-organiser of the Eurimages-funded project on gender inequality in the film industry The Purple Meridians, in collaboration with Italian and Catalan associations Streeen and OVNI Barcelona. Other detainees included the former co-mayor of the Sur district, union officials, members of City council, HDP party members, and women’s rights activists.

From our friends at The Purple Meridians, we have learned that the detainees were kept in deliberately miserable conditions for almost two days before being called to testify before a judge starting at near midnight on 17 March and throughout the night – apparently a well-known intimidation technique. 11 women were sent to prison and 7 others, including the president and two members of Rosa Kadın Derneği, were released with the obligation to report to the authorities on a daily basis.

We join the call by The Purple Meridians, the Harun Farocki Institut and other organisations for the immediate release of the 11 arrested women and for a halt to prosecution of other women’s rights activists, including the seven already released ones. The struggle for women’s rights should be defended, not attacked. While we have few tools at our disposal to put pressure on Diyarbakir authorities, we want to assert our deep solidarity with the women activists and cultural workers from Diyarbakı and denounce legal and police violence against women inflicted by the Turkish authorities. We ask you to join us in this campaign.

Radical Film Network