Undaunted Voices of Turkey

Stories of Women who Resist

There was a failed coup attempt in Turkey on July 15, 2016. In the aftermath, the Turkish authorities sacked or suspended tens of thousands of public employees, and persecuted thousands of civilians as reported in international media. Some were imprisoned without any formal charges or were tortured in jails. These were people from various upbringings and professions, including judges, academics, journalists, and housewives. The single commonality among all of them was their critical voice against authority and their resistance to oppression. Since then, their lives have changed miserably. News media have reported on the political aspects of Turkey’s coup, but few have documented the true impact of the turmoil on people, mainly women, and children.

As an independent group of women, we have volunteered to share the stories of women who have deeply suffered from the purges but insisted on resisting the oppression. In these stories, you will listen to the women who fight and resist oppression in various ways: women finding creative ways to financially support their family as the only breadwinner; families who had to flee the country due to fear for their lives; mothers of babies who learned to crawl and had their first steps in jail; and many more. What you will also find is the love and courage that gave them resilience to fight hardship, and the continuous hope that kept them from giving up.

Although these storytellers are from a country and culture foreign to some, the challenges they face are universally human. In the face of these challenges, these women have demonstrated immense resilience, hope, and bravery. Regardless of the origin of the stories, we hope these oral history pieces will show that there are always ways to resist and fight back in any undesirable situation, and many ways for others to stand up and speak up for those who need support. We believe only that kind of solidarity has the power to defeat human rights violations, injustice, intolerance and hatred in our broken world.