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Evrim Kurdoglu/SES Türkiye-Women in Antalya recently attended a film festival and held a discussion about peace in Turkey.

Evrim Kurdoglu/SES Türkiye-Women in Antalya recently attended a film festival and held a discussion about peace in Turkey.

Tarih 03 Ekim 2013, 19:31 Editör

A film festival for women in Antalya allowed participants to reaffirm solidarity in the battle to halt violence against women and discuss their commitment to the Kurdish peace process.

2013-10-01

Women express desire for peace in Turkey

A film festival and discussion session gave women in Antalya the chance to voice their opinions about the need for peace.

By Evrim Kurdoglu for SES Türkiye in Antalya -- 10/01/13

A film festival for women in Antalya allowed participants to reaffirm solidarity in the battle to halt violence against women and discuss their commitment to the Kurdish peace process.

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Women in Antalya recently attended a film festival and held a discussion about peace in Turkey. [Evrim Kurdoglu/SES Türkiye]

 

The all-day event held September 14th was sponsored by the Women's Initiative for Peace NGO and the Filmmor Women's Co-operative, an organisation of women filmmakers and activists. A group of more than 100 women watched films and documentaries and discussed issues facing women in Turkey. Some participants said women could be influential in swaying opinions about the peace process, but acknowledged that there are both men and women who cling to militant attitudes.

Filmmor and the Women's Initiative for Peace plan to organise similar events for women in other cities, including Diyarbakir and Van. But organisers say it is important to reach the entire nation, not just the eastern areas where the Kurdish population is significant.

"I think the peace issue is something we should talk about with more women," Melek Ozman, a movie director from Filmmor told SES Türkiye. "… Our priority is the western cities because we think that women living in the western cities need to talk about peace."

Ozman added that she has seen signs of progress during the past decade as Filmmor and other organisations have worked to raise awareness of violence against women and to encourage more women to speak out about the peace process.

"Filmmor started to talk to women's organisations in different cities," Ozman said. "I saw that we can talk easily about violence against women, but when we start to talk about peace, the number of women declines. However, 10 years ago when we talked about violence against women, the situation was the same."

Nigar Duru, 59, was born in Antalya and moved several times as she pursued her teaching career. Now retired, Duru has returned to the seaside city and said she has observed impediments to the peace process there, including discontent with Turkey's ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP).

"Most of the women in Antalya believe in nationalism. That is why they stand aloof from peace," Duru told SES Türkiye. "However, women in Antalya are on the side of peace. We support improvement of the peace process. In Antalya usually people are opposite of AKP. That is another roadblock in front of the peace process. People do not support peace because AKP says peace."

Gurbet Kabadayı, 22, a student at Akdeniz University who moved to Antalya from Corum four years ago, called upon the government to commit more fully to the peace process.

"I believe that the AKP government does not manage the peace process well enough," Kabadayı toldSES Türkiye. "The Kurdish side made steps, but the government still does not do anything which is very substantial. … I think Kurdish people stepped to peace. I want to see the government in Turkey take steps to peace."

Gulser Ozturanlı, 60, a professor of urbanisation and environment at Akdeniz University, called Antalya "a very hard city."

"There are many Kurd and foreign immigrant people in Antalya," Ozturanlı told SES Türkiye. "The number of women murdered is very high in Antalya. That number is not independent from war. Therefore, war or peace speeches have influence on Antalya. I believe that is why Antalya has a very big potential for peace."

Ozturanlı added that she would like to see both sides discuss the peace process more openly.,

"In my opinion, if peace is explained properly in Antalya, the number of people who support peace will increase," she said.

What can the two sides do to make the peace process more transparent? Share your thoughts in the comments section.

http://turkey.setimes.com/en_GB/articles/ses/articles/features/departments/national/2013/10/01/feature-02

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