2012-12-05

Hakkari's first women's football team shatters taboos

The unique team's success demonstrates hard-won social progress by Kurdish women in a conservative province.

By Toprak Ekinci for SES Türkiye in Hakkari -- 05/12/12

* denotes required field.

  • Button
Print
Reset
Decrease
Increase

As a 55-year-old woman from Hakkari, Gullu Ozdemir has just about seen it all. But for her, the province's first women's football team is in a league of its own. "In the old days, it was considered shameful for a girl to chase after a ball or play a sport," she told SES Türkiye.

  • The Hakkari Power football team is the first of its kind in the region, providing organised sports for women. [Toprak Ekinci/ SES Türkiye]

    The Hakkari Power football team is the first of its kind in the region, providing organised sports for women. [Toprak Ekinci/ SES Türkiye]

It wasn't that long ago that female athletes would have faced violence for trying to play an organised sport, Ozdemir said, adding, "times have changed."

"We never would've been brave enough to do anything like this in our times," she said. "It makes me happy that girls are now asserting their existence, even if some people may still be opposed to women playing sports or developing themselves in other areas.''

Hakkari Power Women's Football Team, the first and only of its kind in the region, is another indicator of the rising social status of Kurdish women. Local residents see the team as revolutionary, considering that Hakkari is an especially conservative province where the continuous pressure against women is well known.

Nevertheless, as Ozdemir's statement shows, girls here do things their mothers never had the chance to. Many cite the Kurdish political movement's call for women to play an equal role in social affairs.

''It's a nice feeling to be part of society instead of bowing to pressure to get out of it," Fadile Olmez, who plays for Hakkari Power, told SES Türkiye. ''As a woman who grew up in a feudal place like Hakkari, I believe that taboos need to be broken. All women must struggle to break feudalism and whatever else the social structure imposes on us.''

She added: "Around here, women have one choice: sit at home and make food, or get married. Women want to break out of this fate now, to pursue their dreams.''

The team was established within the provincial Youth and Sports Directorate in 2008 with the financial support of a company. Its 18 players compete in the 2nd Women's League's Eastern Group of the Turkey Football Federation. The women made their presence known last season when they defeated their rivals by varying margins and became a finalist.

So far this season, they have shown few signs of letting up. In a recent match, Hakkari Power crushed the Siirt Family Social Politics Women's Team by a score of 10-0. That came on the heels of a 4-0 victory over Mus.

Zuleyha Dayan, 17, attributed her team's success to the realisation that the players seek more than football trophies.

"This started off as a dream, and now we've achieved great things. As a result, we now understand that we deserve rights in all parts of life," she told SES Türkiye. "We do this work trusting our will and power as women. We'll do everything necessary to succeed."

She added: "The work of everyone on this team bound to love and passion. We work out hard every day."

Omer Aslan, a local resident who tries to watch as many Hakkari Power matches as possible, told SES Türkiye the squad has made history here.

''I never would've expected that a women's football team would be established and achieve so much success in a place like Hakkari," he said.

"The fact that they're working consistently despite the ongoing clashes and feudal repression leaves you with no choice but to admire them."

Print
Reset
Decrease
Increase

Do you like this article?

45

7

Subscribe to our newsletter and receive our latest published articles in your inbox.

We welcome your comments on SES Türkiye's articles

It is our hope that you will use this forum to interact with other readers across Southeast Europe. In order to keep this experience interesting, we ask you to follow the rules outlined in the comments policy. By submitting comments, you are consenting to these rules. While SES Türkiye encourages discussion on all subjects, including sensitive ones, the comments posted are solely the views of those submitting them. SES Türkiye does not necessarily endorse or agree with the ideas, views, or opinions voiced in these comments. SES Türkiye welcomes constructive discussion but discourages the use of copy-pasted materials, unaccompanied links and one-line slogans. This is a moderated forum. Comments deemed abusive, offensive, or those containing profanity may not be published.
SES Türkiye's Comments Policy
  • Anonymous over 1 year

    This is indeed a great success story. My sincere congratulations to the women in Hakkari! I wish them further success. It is really nice to hear such news about the region instead of death news.

  • Anonymous over 1 year

    I wish you success. Regards.

  • Anonymous over 1 year

    This is indeed very nice.

  • Anonymous over 1 year

    Congratulations to the women for their success. Well done, this is a very good report.

  • Anonymous over 1 year

    How nice if such a thing has really happened!

  • Anonymous over 1 year

    All fights are worthwhile, I wish you success.

  • Anonymous over 1 year

    Soon they will start making propaganda for the PKK. Look at the poshu (Kurdish scarf) the girl on the left is wearing. She has started already.

Name: Anonymous - Have your comments posted immediately!


Formatting Help Button