First anniversary of the death of Kader Ortakaya


One year ago, on November 6 2014, Kader Ortakya was murdered by Turkish soldiers on the border in Kobanê. She was a member of Toplumsal Özgürlük Parti Girişimi (TÖP-G). The process around her murder is still ongoing, yet her murders are still unknown and their is no willingness on the part of state to do justice. A text by her friend and comrade Meral Çınar from TÖP-G in memory of Kader:

Kader was a Kurdish and communist woman of working class origin. She was born in a poor family in Siverek/Urfa as the eighth child. With the growing influence of the PKK, the pressure on the Kurdish people grew as well and her family, like so many others, was forced to migrate to Istanbul. Growing up as the eighth child of a conservative family and as a girl means that one is an afterthought regarding education. Thus, Kader started to work at the age of 12 in a textile workshop.

As a Kurd and as a woman she grew up in a society dominated by racism and patriarchy; and since she had to earn a living working in the informal sector, she was confronted with the most brutal aspects of capitalism right away. Notwithstanding that she had to work and was rebelling against her conservative family, she was able to finish school with distant courses and gain access to university. Resisting the enormous pressure and difficulties, she became a brave, unwavering fighter for the communist and the feminist cause.

Her persistent and uncompromising character was forged in the struggle with the conditions of her life. We, the youth of the 90s, were raised by a generation that had given up on all hopes after the fascist coup on September 12 1980 and the fall of the Berlin wall. We became part of the struggle in a time where socialism seemed a lost cause, liberalism was spreading and revolutionary politics was seen as a relict of the past. I met Kader in these times, in which resistance was perceived as futile and the youth was depoliticized in the face of all the neoliberal attacks. We met in order to organize the struggle of the youth at university.

What differentiated us in our struggle was that she was of working class background. This gave her a special aura and people admired her for her life in struggle. At times we were without hope. Yet, the circumstances forced as, as Kurds, workers and women, to continue the struggle. Time went by and the world changed.

The end of the Soviet Union closed a chapter in history. But a new one was opened by the Arab Spring, the 15-M movement in Spain, the uprising in Athens, Occupy Wall St., the Rojava Revolution and the Gezi uprising. Kader was one of the first to claim to be an actor in this new chapter. She stood in the front rows as youth, workers and women filled the streets in the Gezi uprising. She worked to strengthen and widen the resistance during and after Gezi. Gezi and Rojava signify the rebellion of the youth against depoliticization. From a feminist perspective Gezi and Kobanê stand for self-defense.

Kader was moved by the fact that young women were fighting against ISIS brutality in Kobanê. She wanted to continue her struggle like the proud female fighters in Kobanê. Shortly before she left, she said that she was a revolutionary with heart and soul during Gezi. Now, her heart and her soul were in Kobanê. However, the state prevented her from realizing her dream. It did not allow her to fire even one bullet against the monster that is ISIS.

It killed her, because it feared her – for her speeches, that she held at the border to Syria, and because she sought to create an alliance between the working class and the Kurdish liberation movement. And because she was doing all that as a woman. The state wanted to send a message to Turkish communists and feminists by murdering Kader. In aiming at Kader it aimed at her communist and feminist identity. It tries to raise fear in us and intimidate us. It is now our task as young women to carry on the flag of the working class and of women’s liberation, the flag that Kader carried throughout her life.

Via New Turkey

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