AKP and Taliban - Brothers in Spirit

Women's rights activist Rüya Kurtuluş warns that developments like those in Afghanistan could also threaten Turkey.

With the Taliban conquest of Afghanistan, women and LGBTI+ people are particularly threatened. The cry for help from women, who still remember the cruelty of the Taliban, reached the world public. Women around the world showed solidarity. Women's organizations in Turkey and Northern Kurdistan repeatedly held solidarity and protest rallies for Afghan women. One of these women's organizations is the Campaign for the Implementation of the Istanbul Convention. Rüya Kurtuluş from the campaign commented on the developments in Afghanistan and the possible consequences for Turkey and Northern Kurdistan in an interview with ANF.

"Nobody believes that the Taliban has changed"

Kurtuluş recalled that twenty years ago, the imperialist states had set out under the slogan "We liberate Afghanistan and Iraq," but repeatedly contributed to the reproduction of the Taliban and other reactionary, Islamist elements through their war policies. She noted that the people of Afghanistan in particular suffered as a result. Now the government has de facto been handed over to the Taliban again, and no one with oppositional attitudes, especially women, are safe from harm.

Kurtuluş pointed out that the Taliban immediately removed pictures of women on walls, turned women away from their jobs, and forced them to veil themselves. In such a situation, a Taliban statement of "We respect women's rights" could be nothing more than a deception of the public, she remarked.

Especially in the Turkish state media, the fairy tale of the "moderate Taliban" was spread. Kurtuluş emphasized that no one believes this talk and added: "Don't let anyone tell you that women's rights are guaranteed in Afghanistan. The Afghan women in our country don't believe such things either. Anyway, they ask for help at every opportunity on social media and declare 'The international community has failed us, we have no security'."

"The government in Turkey is interfering in the lives of women"

The women's rights activist warned that women in Turkey are also in such danger, given the policies of the AKP/MHP regime. The "one-man regime" interferes in women's lives through the fatwas of the religious authority Diyanet, openly promotes child marriage, rewards perpetrators of femicide with reduced sentences, and has set this direction with its withdrawal from the Istanbul Convention and the questioning of Article 6284. Commenting on government statements such as ‘The Taliban's beliefs do not contradict ours,’ Kurtuluş said, "We can observe this in our own lives. There is a government in Turkey that interferes in women's lives, confines women to the family and makes it their duty to give birth to children. Of course, in practice, there is a difference with what the Taliban is doing, but as women in Turkey, we live in the same danger and risk. In that sense, our life here is not easy, and it is getting harder."

"The reactionary regimes will be crushed by women's resistance"

Kurtuluş is also critical of the opposition CHP party and sees the CHP's "Border Means Honor" campaign as an expression of racism. She said the murders of a Kurdish family in Konya and the attacks on refugees in Ankara are part of the worsening racist climate in the country. She remarked it is only through solidarity among peoples and especially women that regimes like the Taliban can be overthrown and racism ended. In fact, she said, women's resistance continues despite all conditions, and hope leads to an expansion of the struggle. The activist concluded by saying, "We know that these dictatorships in Palestine, Iraq, Syria and now in Afghanistan will be crushed by the resistance of women. What is done to one of us is done to all of us. We can push back against these sharia systems, these religious, racist, authoritarian and fascist regimes. This region is full of examples of this. We want to remember these examples and make history. If we join hands with each other, we will surely be stronger and create a better tomorrow."