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Feminism in Diyarbakir

Nebahat Akkoc

Nebahat Akkoc (born in 1955) was a primary school teacher in Diyarbakir. In 1993, at the height of the conflict between the terrorist PKK and the Turkish military, Akkoc's husband, a teacher and union activist, was gunned down by unidentified assailants. After this incident, Akkoc was arrested and tortured by police. She took her case to the European Court of Human Rights, which eventually ordered the Turkish state to pay her compensation.

As a result of her personal experience and having listened to many similar stories from women in South Eastern Turkey, Akkoc set up Ka-Mer as an independent women's centre to support victims of violence

"I began thinking about torture and how one person could inflict that on another. Only someone who had been exposed to violence as a child could do that. I realized that domestic violence was behind all violence.

"As it goes for all the wars in the world, those who formed organizations and took decisions were men. Women faced the most violence. Our bodies were used to punish men. While men were on the mountains, under detention or on the run, their wives and daughters were punished."

Ka-Mer began with one centre in Diyarbakir. Today there are similar centres in 18 provinces, offering hotlines for abused women, legal and professional training courses and day-care facilities.

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