Mediha Sorma Contributes to Translation of Prison Writings by Kurdish Women Politicians

Submitted by Whitney Miller on

The Purple Color of Kurdish Politics is a one-of-a-kind collection of prison writings from more than 20 Kurdish women politicians. Here they reflect on their personal and collective struggles against patriarchy and anti-Kurdish repression in Turkey; on the radical feminist principles and practices through which they transformed the political structures and state offices in which they operated. They discuss what worked and what didn't, and the ways in which Turkey's anti-capitalist and socialist movements closely informed their political stances and practices.

This collection was edited by Gültan Kışanak and prepared for publication by Ruken IsikEmek Ergun and Janet Biehl. The book was originally published in Turkish in 2018 and in 2022 the book was translated into English by a feminist translation collective. Mediha Sorma is one of the translators who contributed to the project by translating the essay written by Leyla Güven. Mediha Sorma got the opportunity to interview Güven during her fieldwork in Diyarbakir in 2019. Leyla Güven was arrested in 2019 after Mediha’s fieldwork and has since been incarcerated.

About the Editor: Gültan Kışanak, a Kurdish journalist and former MP, was elected co-mayor of Diyarbakır in 2014. Two years later, the Turkish state arrested and imprisoned her. Her story is remarkable, but not unique. While behind bars, she wrote about her own experiences and collected similar accounts from other Kurdish women, all co-chairs, co-mayors and MPs in Turkey; all incarcerated on political grounds.

Demonstrating Kurdish women's ceaseless political determination and refusal to be silenced - even when behind bars - the book ultimately hopes to inspire women living under even the most unjust conditions to engage in collective resistance.