"There are in so many ways big differences between the life in Gaziantep and the life in Istanbul. In Istanbul I feel free; I can take decisions on my own. But if I would live in Gaziantep, taking decisions on my own would not have been an option for me. …When I first came here, I was afraid of the big city, […] but it is much nicer here. I love Istanbul."
Sibel T. was born 1981 as one of eight children in a village near Gaziantep in South East Anatolia. She is the only daughter in her family who did not get married at the age of 13. Today she lives in Rumeli Hisari with her 10 year old daughter.
Sibel much prefers the modern life of Istanbul:
"Young girls are constraint in Gaziantep. A girl cannot leave the house alone or even talk to a young man. …I cannot go out, go shopping or for a walk on my own. Here in Istanbul this is not a problem at all.
In Gaziantep, if a girl goes out with a young man, and their families learn about it, the girl might be killed. This has happened. They killed the girl. The uncle agitated the father to kill his own daughter."
When Sibel was a child, it was not common to send girls to school longer than five years. Since Turkish schools are obligatory for eight years, girls receive more education today.
"My mother didn't go to school. My grandmother didn't either. My father and my uncles studied until the secondary school. … My mother might have wished for us to have a life different from her, but she has always been curbed by our father. It's the men's word that counts."
People said, girls should not study…They did not want it. I went to school until the fifth grade…But there is some development regarding the education of girls: a few years ago there was social pressure not to send girls to school, as a good girl should stay at home. Today there is social pressure to send girls to school.'
Sibel resisted wearing a headscarf when she was a teenager and her family accepted it. When she got married at the age of 18 and moved to her husband in Rumeli Hisari in Istanbul in 1998 her husband made her wear a headscarf. However, later she removed it again and is not wearing it now.
Sibel wants her daughter to get good education in order to be able to stand on her own feet.
"There is a big difference between an educated and an uneducated person. I tell her about love and respect. I do want her to be strong and keep her chin up. She should be happy… I will tell her, that I will always stand behind her.'