Human Rights

Letter to Ilknur Ustun from Cynthia Enloe

Friday, September 1, 2017

Cynthia Enloe: “Ilknur, your community-building work, your generous spirit, and your lively curiosity – I am so fortunate to keep learning from you!”

Feminist academician from Clark University, Cynthia Enloe wrote a letter to show solidarity with arrested human rights defender Ilknur Ustun from Turkey. She mentioned their meeting story and the works of Ustun in her letter:

“Dear Ilknur – I am sending you warmest greetings. You are in my thoughts daily.

“It was back in 2003 that we first met. It was my first visit to Turkey. You were my wonderful host and guide in Ankara. I remember all our lively conversations! You opened my eyes to Turkish history and to the complexities of Turkish women’s diverse lives.

“I especially can picture us going through the Ataturk Memorial with its fascinating Gallipoli diorama. That was the first time I had ever pictured in my mind’s eye the famous World War I battle from the vantage point up on top of the cliffs. Your commentary made such an impression on me that day in 2003 that this past year I chose our visit together to the Gallipoli exhibit as the centerpiece of an essay for a special issue of the European Women’s Studies Journal. That same essay is now a chapter in my newest book, The Big Push, just released in the UK and the US. And YOU, of course, are right there on the page!

“We most recently got the chance to talk when I came to Ankara for a conference at METU. You once again were so generous with your time. I remember us having brunch together and your taking me to the friendly sunlit office of your then-new small publishing venture, where you introduced me to your fine colleagues.

“Ilknur, your community-building work, your generous spirit, and your lively curiosity – I am so fortunate to keep learning from you!”

What happened?

Human rights defenders came together in Buyukada for a meeting on digital security. The event was planned as a part of the program to protect human rights defenders. However, they are taken into custody on 5 July in the hotel they were staying in Buyukada.

Nalan Erkem and Özlem Dalkıran (Helsinki Citizens Assembly), İlknur Üstün (Women's Coalition), İdil Eser (Human Rights Watch Director to Turkey) and Veli Acu (Human Rights Agenda Association), Günal Kurşun (Human Rights Agenda Association), Nejat Taştan (Association for Monitoring Equal Rights), Şeyhmuz Özbekli (Rights Initiative), Ali Garawi (human rights trainer), and Peter Steudtner (German citizen human rights trainer) were taken into custody.

On July 18, Eser, Dalkıran, Kurşun, Acu, Garawi and Steudtner were arrested. Erkem, Üstün, Taştan and Özbekli were released on probation and international travel ban was imposed on them.

Üstün, Erkem, Taştan and Özbekli were released on probation with travel.

On July 21, the prosecutor objected to the release of the four rights advocates. Being detained from their homes, Üstün and Erkem were arrested on July 23.

On July 25, Taştan and Özbekli were released on probation with travel ban. 

 

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