Claiming the bodies of Kurdish women: Kurdish women’s funerals in Northern Kurdistan/Turkey

Ruken Isik


The Turkish state strictly bans funerals and other forms of public mourning for Kurdish guerrillas, considering them to be a threat to the sovereign state. Victims of honor crimes are also denied proper burials, as they are accused of “ruining” their family’s reputation. Since the 2000s, Kurdish women activists in Turkey have gone against the grain by holding funerals for both groups of women, as well as public protests against the necropolitics of the state and patriarchal powers which establish exceptions to control life and death. This paper analyzes the ways in which women activists take action by claiming these bodies and reimagining grief and mourning as affects of social justice.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.1086/718557