World Congress for Middle Eastern Studies

Barcelona, July 19th - 24th 2010

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Women of Turkey: A Critical Look into Honour Crimes in Turkey and among Diaspora Communities in Europe (014) - Panel
 

· Date: MON 19, 2.30-4.30 pm

· Institution: Halic University, Istanbul (Turkey)

· Organizer: Leyla Pervizat

· Language: English

· Description: This panel will look into crimes of honour in Turkey and diaspora communities in Europe from an interdisciplinary perspective. The panel will consist of four papers all from academicians at various levels, from a professor to Master’s student. This panel aims to cover all related interdisciplinary areas. The chair will also act as a discussant on the panel since she is an international and national expert on the issue.
Crimes of honour are violations of women’s and girl’s human rights. These crimes are subjected on individuals, overwhelmingly women and girls, who believe or are perceived to believe in values and standards which are at odds with the social mores of the society in which they may live. Defining these crimes and risk factors are not an exact science but a matter of judgment. The crucial point here, however, is to note about notions of what is acceptable and unacceptable in terms of behavior, and what constitutes harm. These notions are culturally, politically, socially, economically, and geographically influenced and constantly under review as values and social norms evolve. Since honour is a culture and language specific and historically contingent issue, it changes in time and space. Nonetheless, what remains constant is controlling and regulating women’s sexualities, lives, choices, and autonomies within the hegemonic masculine order we all live in. Disappointingly, serious and severe lack of clarity on the concept of honour and risk factors leading to these crimes continues to be a major problem among different communities all throughout the world as well as people in Turkey. This is probably the most important angle of our work. Hence, in this panel, the presenters will try to show the continuities and discrepancies of crimes of honour occurring both in mainland Turkey as well as in diaspora communities among Euro-Turks/Kurds. Since crimes of honour among Euro-Turks/Kurds must be understood/dealt with from many different angles, inter alia, migration, diasporic nationalism, hegemonic masculine (multi)identities, islamaphobia, and European politics, the panel in its content and in its structure will approach the issue holistically. Furthermore, in ‘true feminist tradition’, the panelists will be combined from academic sphere and activist sphere to address the issue in-depth.

Chair: Leyla Pervizat (Halic University, Istanbul)

Paper presenter: Bingül Durbaş (Essex University in the UK), “Case Study: Honour Killings in Turkey”
There are several international human rights standards which prohibit violence against women include several treaties which Turkey has ratified. Although the legal framework has been improved over the last few years, new cases continue to occur of young girls and women being killed by a relative or having committed suicide after suffering abuse. Focusing on honour killings and how this phenomenon manifests itself in Turkey Ms. Durbaş will explore the reasons behind honour killings and investigate the persistence of honour based violence. Ms. Durbaş will also show how patriarchal norms and honour killings reinforce one another and to what extent they contribute to the survival and the persistence of honour violence in Turkey.

Paper presenter: Hande Ertınas (İzmir University of Economics, Turkey), “The Representation of Honour Killings in Turkish Mainstream Media”
Media have been contributing to the construction of patriarchal codes through the representation of honor killings in Turkey and analyzing the news as discourse helps as questioned the media as a tool that can be used to re/construct patriarchy. So it is important to analyse the media coverage and the representation of honor killings through mainstream Turkish press. From this prespective, in this study, Ms. Ertınas will try to find out patriarchal legitimization behind violence against women through the ‘news’. The main objective of this study is to analyze the way in which so called honor killings are (re)presented and constructed in print news, and to examine the role of this operation in the reproduction of the patriarchal system through the media. In this study she is going to focus only on the “news stories” in the mainstream Turkish press and aim to do so through a systematic analysis of news discourse structures. This study adheres to the analytical paradigm of Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA) employed by Teun A. Van Dijk.

Paper presenter: Leyla Pervizat (Halic University, Istanbul), “Then and Now: A Look into Honour Crimes in Turkey”
Crimes of honour are violations of women’s and girl’s human rights. These crimes are subjected on individuals, overwhelmingly women and girls, who believe or are perceived to believe in values and standards which are at odds with the social mores of the society in which they may live. Defining these crimes and risk factors are not an exact science but a matter of judgment. The crucial point here, however, is to note about notions of what is acceptable and unacceptable in terms of behavior, and what constitutes harm. These notions are culturally, politically, socially, economically, and geographically influenced and constantly under review as values and social norms evolve. Since honour is a culture and language specific and historically contingent issue, it changes in time and space. Nonetheless, what remains constant is controlling and regulating women’s sexualities, lives, choices, and autonomies within the hegemonic masculine order we all live in. Disappointingly, serious and severe lack of clarity on the concept of honour and risk factors leading to these crimes continues to be a major problem among different communities all throughout the world as well as people in Turkey. This is probably the most important angle of our work. Hence, in this panel, the presenters will try to show the continuities and discrepancies of crimes of honour occurring both in mainland Turkey as well as in diaspora communities among Euro-Turks/Kurds. Since crimes of honour among Euro-Turks/Kurds must be understood/dealt with from many different angles, inter alia, migration, diasporic nationalism, hegemonic masculine (multi)identities, islamaphobia, and European politics, the panel in its content and in its structure will approach the issue holistically. Furthermore, in ‘true feminist tradition’, the panelists will be combined from academic sphere and activist sphere to address the issue in-depth.

Paper presenter: Asuman Aytekin İnceoğlu (Bilgi University, Istanbul), “Violence Towards Women in the Turkish Criminal Law Legislation and Practice”
On the eve of the preparations of the new Turkish Criminal Code, many provisions of the Turkish Criminal Code has been changed upon the pressure put on the legislative authority by the women non-governmental organizations. These changes include the repeal of provisions comprising distinctions such as married or single woman, woman or girl; distinctions that are all based on the so called perception of “honour”. Changes necessary to eliminate the reductions as to the persons who kill women in the name of honour and the aggravation of their sanctions has been made with the Turkish Criminal Code that has entered into force in June, 1 2005. Through these changes that convey the nature of a reform, the provisions, that include a discriminatory perception of women, have been removed from the Criminal Code. Though this has been managed on the legislative level, the approach of the society and the practice that is reflecting the view of the society still needs to be changed with an effort stronger and steadier than put into the change of the Codes.
As you can see from the proposal, our panel will cover a wide variety of areas in dealing with the issue of crimes of honour.