Female Fighters and Peace Talks Between the PKK and Turkey



This week, my two diigo posts were about female fighters in the PKK and the PKK’s peace talks with Turkey.  My first post is a tweet of a drawing by Sazan Slemani, a Kurdish woman who is very active on Twitter in support of the female fighters of the YPG, a branch of the PKK. In the drawing, a female PKK soldier is depicted putting her hair up in a ponytail, as if in preparation for a battle, and as her hair flows down from her hands, it changes into the shape of a gun. While art critique is not exactly my forte, I found this image to be really moving. I thought it was particularly interesting how long hair, which typically symbolizes femininity, was paired with something traditionally masculine like assault rifles and war. The popularity of images like this is evidence of the growing positive perception of the PKK: people are inspired by female soldiers, particularly when they are fighting against IS, a group under which women suffer numerous abuses. The PKK certainly benefits from its perception as an advocate of gender equality, but whether or not it actually practices it is a question for my final paper.  The author is a Kurdish woman, and a strong advocate for the PKK on social media, but it is difficult to tell which perspective on globalization she identifies with based purely on her artwork. However, her use of social media to create and communicate with network of PKK supporters all over the world is something that a cosmopolitan would certainly appreciate. 

My second diigo post is a report published on November 6, 2014 by the International Crisis Group about the current peace talks between Turkey’s President Ergodan and leaders of the PKK. It discusses how after decades of conflict which cost tens of thousands of people their lives, neither Turkey nor the PKK believe that military victory is possible, and are meeting to discuss a peaceful resolution. However, the events in Syria has reignited ever-present tensions between the two groups, and a fruitful compromise between them is seeming less likely. In this report, the International Crisis Group details the parameters of a possible peace deal, and states that differences need to be put aside so that basic issues like “transitional justice, disarmament and decentralization” can be resolved. It is clear that this is a group of political liberals: they advocate solving this issue through diplomacy, and by bringing both parties to the same table, rather than by individual, lone-wolf states.

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