Gender and political movements: Half-century of the Turkish activism

Main researcher: Dr. Lucie Drechselová
Oriental Institute of the Czech Academy of Sciences

Collaborator: Dr. Eylem Özkaya (Galatasaray University, Turkey)

The research project aims to understand the functioning of political movements in Turkey from a gender perspective. It focuses on active members of the political generations of 1968 and 1978, who are still in the Turkish and Kurdish political parties. It examines their political careers and how the gender element is written into them. Gender is not understood here as a synonym for women, on the contrary, it is perceived as an interaction between the sexes and as an essential organizational element in political movements. As the gender perspective permeates activism in all its layers and forms, its research provides a deeper understanding of the functioning of political organizations as such, including their permeability to the social order.

The longitudinal nature of the research project makes it possible to capture the variations and continuity in political activism in Turkey in the second half of the 20th century and the beginning of the 21st century. During this crucial period, two political generations developed in Turkey in a period of only ten years – 1968 and 1978. Their development was interrupted by a military coup in 1980, whose creators aimed to depoliticize Turkish society by banning all political activities. The research is based on the belief that it is possible to understand current political groups in Turkey only through the study of the period before and after the 1980 coup.

The research is primarily focused on actors – i.e. politicians who have been active since the 1960s or 1970s, and are still involved in politics today. The choice of such a specific group of respondents serves to better understand the political functioning of organizations through the biographical and political paths of the actors. A longitudinal perspective makes it possible to cover their life paths across several decades.