Feminist boycott at the Tourism Fair in Hamburg

A feminist protest against Turkey at the Hamburg Tourism Fair focused on women. The fate of individual women was used as an example to illustrate why a holiday in Turkey should be out of the question.

The boycott action of the Hamburg committee of the international campaign Women Defend Rojava started on Friday together with the local groups of the initiatives Tatort Kurdistan and #RiseUpForRojava went into the second round yesterday.

In addition to the information for visitors spread yesterday that income from tourism is being used to finance the assimilation and extermination policies of the Turkish regime, Saturday’s day of action had a primarily feminist expression.

The reactionary image that the Erdoğan government imposes, deprives a woman of her self-determination and subjects her to home and kitchen. Equality between men and women? Unnatural. Not having children because of career or other reasons? An excuse and against femininity. In line with this logic, physical violence against women is also widespread in Turkey. Because it is legitimized by the state by protecting perpetrators: Victims receive little support and too often perpetrators receive reduced sentences, for example for "provocation" or "good behaviour", which significantly lower the inhibition threshold of violence.

Impunity through forced marriage after sexual abuse

"The summit of all this is a law that is currently being discussed in the Turkish parliament: Men who abuse minors in Turkey could go unpunished in future if the victim agrees to marry the perpetrator. Not only does rape go unpunished for the perpetrator, but minors who experience sexual violence are put under pressure to marry the perpetrator. Rape, forced marriage and the marriage of minors would thus be legitimised and legally recognised by the state," the speech said.

Rojava: Symbol of gender liberation intended to be destroyed

Many disputes revolved around the activists' special focus on Turkey. "By calling for a boycott of Turkey as a travel destination, we are not legitimising holidays in other authoritarian states; that would be completely absurd," said one activist. "In the same way, we are aware that patriarchal violence is unfortunately a worldwide phenomenon and that everything we are talking about here today can and does happen everywhere. But Turkey, under Erdoğan, has set itself the goal of destroying the Democratic Confederation of North and East Syria, a symbol of true democracy, social ecology and above all gender liberation. And as such it is the fascism of the Erdoğan government against which we fight. And above all we fight for Rojava! It is about the defense of feminist achievements against patriarchy and its extreme expression in fascism.”

Performance: Women in focus

At the end of the action day, a message was expressed with a performance. Here, not the perpetrators were in the centre of attention, but women from Turkey and Syria, who have dedicated their lives to the construction of a free world and lost their lives, their loved ones or their work in the fight for equality, for democracy and against fascism.

On Sunday, the last day of the Hamburg Tourism Fair, it will once again be possible to find out about the boycott and to take part in it. In view of the storm warning for northern and western Germany, the actions will probably run from 10 am until noon.