Monday, 9 March 2009

"Armenian Women in Turkey Are Doubly Discriminated Against"

Writer Karin Karakaşlı spoke at a panel on “The other’s other: Armenian women”, saying that every identity requires labour and has a price. Kayuş Çalıkman Gavrilof spoke of the need for women to organise.

9 March 2009


“We are ostracised for being Armenian, and then, as if that was not enough, we are ostracised again for being women."

Writer Karin Karakaşlı spoke at a panel organised by an association of Turkish-Armenian women. The panel was entitled “The other’s other: Armenian women.”

She was joined by Kayuş Çalıkman Gavrilof, a member of the Armenian Sayat Nova choir.

The panel was preceded by a short film of interviews on “Namus”, sexual honour, shot by the Filmmor Women’s Cooperative.

Difficulties make us question our identities

Karakaşlı spoke about the concept of identity, saying, “Our most beautiful identity is that of a human being. In second place, we need to experience the beauty of a woman’s identity.”

“When everything is fine, we do not question our identity. But when there are difficulties, we begin to question our identity, or even identities.”

Multiple discrimination

Gavrilof said, “When I am asked about being a woman, I don’t know what to say. But when the Armenian identity is concerned, I cannot stop.”

She added that women in Turkey faced ethnic, class and gender discrimination, mentioning the pressures women faced on the hands of men, society, the system and also other women.

Gavrilof continued, “When I do something, when I try to experience freedom as a woman, my husband tries to take credit for it, saying what a good husband he is. However, it is me who is trying to use my rights as an individual. I do not want this, I want to struggle against this.”

She ended her talk by emphasising the need for women to organise.

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