Turkey’s ‘special refugees’

Via Open Democracy (from 16th April) – Nil Mutluer on the western gaze on Turkish politics and those fleeing its consequences:

“In Turkey’s story, the western gaze is searching for new victims. Yes, I fled Turkey with my three year old daughter, but am I that victim? Well, I am a ‘scholar at risk’, that much is true enough. Although I have been active in various feminist and human rights circles and have been working on issues regarding democratization for almost two decades, I have officially gained that status thanks to one modest political act in a whole lifetime: I joined over a thousand other colleagues – Academics for Peace – in signing a peace petition, “We will not be a Party to This Crime”, which called on the Turkish state to cease its accelerating violence in the Kurdish provinces and respect domestic and international laws.

Since I moved to Germany, I have had many encounters with German and European institutions and the media. On most occasions, I have received direct support and solidarity from colleagues and representatives in various institutions and organizations. Nevertheless there were also quite a number of encounters where I felt that the western gaze required me as a victimized subject of its own choice – a subject who is heard only when she talks about the ordeals she has been put through by her persecutor, namely Erdoğan; a subject who is seen only when she exemplifies, in her very person, the authoritarian straitjacket that Erdoğan has been imposing on Turkey. This was what the western gaze wanted to see and wanted me to show…”

Read the whole article at Open Democracy