Women launch election campaign for imprisoned politician Gültan Kışanak

The Women's Council of DEM party launched campaign for imprisoned Kurdish politician Gültan Kışanak, who was nominated the party’s co-mayoral candidate for Turkish capital Ankara.

Local elections will be held in Turkey on March 31. Gültan Kışanak was arrested in 2016 during her term as mayor of Amed (tr. Diyarbakir) and is being held as a political hostage of the Erdoğan regime in the Kandıra Prison. Even in prison, the Kurdish politician refuses to be silenced and runs for mayor of Ankara together with human rights lawyer Öztürk Türkdoğan. Their election campaign is being led by the Women's Council of the DEM Party.

Gültan Kışanak is one of the 108 defendants in the so-called Kobanê trial. In front of the Sincan prison complex, the DEM parliamentary group demanded her release on Friday. Gülistan Kılıç Koçyiğit, vice-chair of the parliamentary group, described Gültan Kışanak as an indomitable fighter for the women's movement and the Kurdish people and pointed out that she had resisted torture in the Amed dungeon after the 1980 military coup. She stated that Kışanak’s imprisonment is illegal and called for her immediate release.

Today, the Women's Council of the DEM Party started an election campaign rally in Kuğulu Park in Ankara. The Women's Council spokesperson Halide Türkoğlu reiterated the demand for the release of Gültan Kışanak so that she can conduct her own election campaign. A letter written by Gültan Kışanak from prison was read out at the rally, in which the politician called on women to fight collectively. The letter written by Gültan Kışanak reads as follows:

"Dear women,

First of all, I greet you, all the women of Ankara with longing and wish you success. Today we are launching our campaign. I believe that we will organize a strong women's solidarity during and after the election and we will unleash a force that will stop all kinds of attacks against women's gains. Now it is DEM time in Ankara. Now is the time to transform Ankara with the purple DEM of politics. Now is the time to embrace and win the Purple DEM in the strongest way. We are coming to change the bureaucratic, centralized, militarist and male-dominated face of Ankara. We are setting out to reveal women's claim to participate in governance, to have a say and decision in the strongest way possible. We are coming to fight the male-dominated system that excludes women from the public sphere in the capital of the Republic. We are setting out to say "stop" to war policies, trustee coups and male domination.

We are coming to bring the Republic together with democracy and to lead the politics of peace as women. We are setting out to liberate Ankara from the rent-seeking, destructive and discriminatory male mentality.

We are coming to put our struggle for democracy and freedom on solid foundations locally. We are setting out to fight against those who put the burden of poverty, destitution, and price hikes on the backs of laborers and women. We are coming to destroy the understanding that turns our cities into places of social and class segregation. We are setting out to show the difference that women will make in local governments and to realize a democratic and participatory local government model.

We are coming to offer a democratic option to the people of Ankara, especially women.

The working women seeking freedom, young women, all women who are aware of the bad course of events and want to make a difference are on their way. We are coming to build democracy, social peace and women's freedom.

We will win through collective struggle and collective labor.

Dear women,

I want you to know that I am with you in every activity, in every work, in every place and at every time with my heart, my consciousness and my whole being. I feel you in my heart, I draw strength and morale from you. I know that you will show the best example of women's solidarity and represent me in the strongest way. One Gültan is in a cell, but thousands of Gültan are on the field; I am sure of that. Thousands of Figen, thousands of Sebahat, thousands of Ayla and many more of our comrades are participating and leading the women's liberation struggle. We will win through our collective struggle and collective labor. Women's solidarity will win, women's organization will win, women's common struggle for freedom and peace will win. May your path and our path be clear. May our path lead to freedom, democracy and peace. Jin, Jiyan, Azadi!

Gültan Kışanak

Kandıra F Type Prison No. 1."