A Kurdish journalist, academic and women’s rights activist from Turkey was killed in an attack in front of her house in Sulaymaniyah, a city in the Kurdistan region of Iraq, the Rudaw news website reported.
Sulaymaniyah Police Department spokesman Serkewt Ahmed told Rudaw that the police who arrived at the scene of the attack determined that the woman was dead.
No statement has been made regarding the possible perpetrators of the attack.
The woman, identified as Nagihan Akarsel, was the editor of the Jineology magazine and a member of the Jineology Research Center. Jineology — the science of women or women’s science — is a form of feminism, of gender equality, advocated by Abdullah Öcalan, the jailed leader of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).
The PKK is listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey and much of the international community.
Akarsel was registered in the central Turkish province of Konya and had been living in northern Iraq for some time.
The journalist’s murder attracted harsh criticism from the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), which put the blame for Akarsel’s murder on the policies of Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and its election ally, the far-right Nationalist Movement Party (MHP).
#NagihanAkarsel, women rights activist, journalist and co-founder of Jineolojî Academy Center, was murdered in an armed attack in Sulaymaniyah. We condemn in the strongest terms this brutal act. Women’s struggle for freedom cannot be silenced or intimidated by such atrocities! pic.twitter.com/1PVrfI4VUN
— HDP English (@HDPenglish) October 4, 2022
HDP İstanbul lawmaker Dilşat Canbaz tweeted that similar murders recently taking place in Kurdistan bear the fingerprints of “AKP-MHP fascism and their collaborators in the region,” while HDP deputy chairman Tayip Temel said his party strongly condemns the “heinous attack” on Akarsel.
Journalist Meltem Oktay, a journalist living in exile who worked with Akarsel in the past, tweeted that she learned everything about reporting on women from her.
“Nobody should remain silent in the wake of the murder of a free Kurdish woman, activist and journalist,” said Oktay, who used to work at the now-closed Dicle News Agency.
Akarsel was conducting studies as part of a project in Sulaymaniyah aimed at the establishment of a Jineology Academy and Kurdistan Women’s Library.
In 2013 three Kurdish women, PKK founding member Sakine Cansız, Kurdistan Information Bureau (KNK) Paris representative Fidan Doğan and Leyla Söylemez, who was a member of the Kurdish youth movement, were murdered at their Paris bureau.
Turkey’s National Intelligence Organization (MİT) is accused by the outlawed Kurdistan Communities Union (KCK), an umbrella organization that encompasses the PKK, HDP and other Kurds, of masterminding the women’s murders.
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