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Weblog of Amargi will continue to inform you about feminist politics in Turkey

19 Dec

Amargi is closing, but the weblog of Amargi will stay to inform all who are interested in feminist politics in Turkey.

If you want to know more about Feminism in Turkey you can check the recommended readings, documentaries and websites on this page.

Amargi is closing

17 Dec

Dear Friends

You, the ones, who walked through Amargi, the ones who touched Amargi in one way or the other; the ones who acted together with Amargi; the ones who know Amargi; the ones who followed Amargi from far away or closely, this letter is from us to all of you. 

We are ending the journey of Amargi and we feel the responsibility of sharing the reasons for this ending with you. We know that this sharing will serve as a mirror for the feminist movement. 

Amargi, as many of you witnessed, in spite of many activities conducted, became self-contained and began to have trouble in renewing itself, in taking immediate action, in opening new ways, in recent years. On one hand, the number of new friends coming to Amargi with hope increased, but on the other hand, we could not prevent our friends leaving one after the other. First of all, we would like you to know that our decision of closing down is not a result of the recent ruptures, just the opposite, the ruptures are only one of the results of the recent state of Amargi. Nobody can be exempt from this responsibility by criticizing from above as an outsider. We accept this responsibility or not, we have brought Amargi to the point of closing down altogether.  By not putting enough effort, by lack of understanding, by individualism, by lack of initiative, by small calculations, by big words… 

However, the naked truth that stands in front of us is that: the experience of Amargi contributed to all of us so much; to the ones who left early, to the ones who brought it till today, as well as to the groups and individuals making the feminist movement and the opposition movement of Turkey.

What united us in Amargi was the criticism we had towards the feminist movement, the need to open a new channel, and we did open that. We started off by saying that patriarchy surrounded women with different mechanisms depending on her place in the social hierarchy; also by questioning, talking about and showing the hierarchies our social identities created. We went on by saying that feminist struggle included the struggles against war, nationalism, militarism, heterosexism, capitalism and human-centrism and by acting accordingly.

Amargi created new energy at the time the feminist movement was going through inertia and lack of communication. We tried to bring dynamism and depth to the movement by means of contributing to the breaking of the monolithic discourse, constructing the theory and action together and by diffusion to diverse spaces of struggle.

Amargi was a workshop of searching. We have struggled in this workshop together, against diverse oppressions and the problem of hegemony between the oppressed – that is, with each other and within ourselves – for facing with ourselves by means of conflicting without violence, for transforming each other and ourselves, in order to reach out for freedom. During the history of twelve years, there were periods when our capacity of activism and discourse went up or down. Nevertheless, some of us from the start, some of us later on lived these periods like a school. We learned that we were able to achieve big jobs with horizontal relations and that the non-violence did not mean passivity. In Amargi spaces, everyone entering and putting herself to the jobs as much as she can, we had beautiful intersections, encounters, lasting friendships. We felt that we became subjects by enacting on our request of freedom and could express ourselves.

Amargi symbolizes a radical line in the history of feminist struggle. It took part in a not trenchant but radical and anti-systemic struggle. At the point we arrived we cannot lead this struggle with its vividness of the past.  

To draw a line targeting all the power relations and engaging in a struggle accordingly requires effort, responsibility and participation. We, in the last years, joined the activities, sometimes forgetting about what we were struggling against and our claim. This form of participation corresponded not to tear down the codes of organisation of life but instead realizing ourselves by making some changes in it.  

This political constriction damaged our critical and activist position inside the movement. We had been saying since the beginning, that from mainstream feminist movement to radical feminists, feminist politics evolved to a point inside the system. However, at this point Amargi has become part of the line which takes the hegemonic system as a respondent, part of the reactionary discourse, for example defining abortion as a right, and reducing freedom to gaining “liberty”.  

An organization is not fixed. Each person who joins, each connection adds a new thing to it. Even, the political positions or idealisms, and the potential of contribution of those people don’t stay the same.

If an organization can not feed itself in the direction of its political aims all the time, it will either shrink or moves in the direction of other aims. The aims of each of us, which may coincide or conflict, may not always be anti-systemic.

The point that we reached shows the situation explained above. When we distanced ourselves from the political claim, the conflict ended. The fact that we could not operate the nonviolent method of conflicting, the mechanism of criticism/self-criticism, led the way to developing hidden violent methods instead of putting effort to each other, to forming groups, to labeling, to targeting, to gossiping. We stopped putting the hierarchies among us, different ways of oppressions, political tensions in our country into our agenda, into Amargi’s agenda. We stopped feeling responsibility for these. This situation caused hollowness in the discourse we created. Therefore, conflicts about political standpoints became personal problems and we started to situate each other as opponents and to join different relationships for solving the problems instead of in the meetings and we created groupings. As a result, the core values we had: openness, solidarity, empathy and feeling of trust faded, whereas the distinguishing feature of Amargi was its making itself belong to everyone, open to everyone. People who wanted to realize themselves, wanted to say or do something could exist in Amargi, provided that they conformed to our principles of departure.  Amargi belonged to everyone, and it was also “the outside” at the same time. With time, being a member of Amargi became an “all-embracing” identity, but this time not representing anybody anymore.

The organization, that we could not renew, stopped to function and became the problem itself. Because we could not renew it, the activities that we shared became ordinary, narrow, far from its political aim and being a common activism ground. Then, jobs, funding projects, administrative problems became important. Instead of creating richness via transformed values through the labor produced in Amargi, the aim turned into keeping the institution standing.

But, we learned in Amargi that it was not possible to create freedom in a determined sphere which is in order; instead, that was related to showing initiative for the creation of the unexpected. In other words, the organization was not the aim but a tool for the politics of freedom. Now, we would like to act according to that.

As we all know, freedom is a concept without limits. It requires an endless search, continuous politics. Where there is inertia, it is inevitable to be integrated in the system. It is up to the people to keep the fire burning.  

We, people who were united at Amargi at present of the twelve years of history, could not blow enough to keep the fire burning.  

Closing down Amargi is our self criticism.

To tell the truth, another important self criticism would be to provide fire to Amargi again, and to be reborn with it.            

Yet, we are not sure that we can do this together at this time. That’s why, we, at least, content ourselves with naming the situation. The size of our sail cannot carry us to where we want to be. In order not to turn upside down, we lower our sail.

We put the full stop in order not to draw on our capital, i.e., not to consume more the beauties we created together, to leave a meaningful trace from Amargi to the future. Knowing to end something when necessary can also be a feminist and anti-militarist act. We believe that we do that now, in order to regain force to start again; in other words, in order to take in some breath.


We don’t have the organizational energy for the political aim with a claim mentioned in the starting manifest; however our search for freedom goes on. And our need of making new starts.

We are leaving a greater part of Amargi’s archive to the Women’s Library and Information Center. You will see us in the social struggles for freedoms. Besides, we are carrying on with the various activities and initiatives we started at Amargi, we will continue with those. It is great that feminist movement now has several mechanisms. We will work, discuss, act, construct together again. And we will open new ways, maybe we already are.

We believe that the experience of Amargi holds an important place in the history of feminist politics, and this experience will continue to make the searchers of freedom stronger in every way.

With feminist solidarity!

Women from Amargi Istanbul


15 Aug

Our office will be closed for two weeks from now on.

We are sorry that we will not be able to answer your e-mails in that time. 

After the 1st of september we hope to see you in our office or get messages from you!

With feminist solidarity,



28 Jun

On Sunday the 1st of July, we invite you kindly to join the solidarity breakfast at Amargi!! It takes place from 12:00 – 3:00 pm so there is no rush to wake up early on Sunday.

As the years before our breakfast will be organized in context of the LGBTT pride week. Afterwards we can join the demonstration together, which will start at 5:00 pm at Taksim square.

You can buy a ticket for the all-you-can-eat-buffet from now on at Amargi or just at the event. Ticket price is 10 TL and includes free tea as much as you want.

Come and bring your friends to support Amargi!!


8 May

Next Friday, on the 11th of may at 7:00 pm, there will be the second movie night at Amargi, concerning the topic female filmproducers in Turkey. We will show the movie Journey to the sun (Güneşe Yolculuk) by Yeşim Ustaoğlu, which is telling the story of a friendship between a turkish and a kurdish man.

The movie will be in Turkish with English subtitles. Afterwards we would like to invite you to stay for having some discussions.


Provocative Performances by Şükran Moral

4 May

On the 26th of april, the Turkish artist Şükran Moral was invited to Amargi to showcase and talk about her art.

Şükran Moral is known for being a provocative performance artist, who focuses on the repression and marginalization of women, immigrants, prostitutes, transsexuals and mentally-disabled people. Nowadays, she divides her time between Rome and Istanbul.

After she showed us video clips of her performances, we had an interesting discussion about issues surrounding her art.


19 Apr

Today, on April 19th at 7:15 pm, we will hold a sexuality workshop and watch a movie about the choreographer Pina Bausch. After the movie, we will discuss how she employs her body through dance from a feminist perspective.


5 Apr

Tomorrow, friday the 13th of April there will be our solidarity party. Two concerts and 1 drink just for 20tl. Come and dance with us…


29 Mar

Next friday, the 6th of april at 9:00 pm, there will be the first out of many following movie nights concerning the topic female filmproducers in Turkey. We will show a movie called Pandora’nin Kutusu (Pandoras box).

We are waiting for you!


29 Mar

Tomorrow Friday, the 30th of march 7:30 pm, there will be an opening party of the photo exhibition one day project: after work.

Here some information:

The balance between professional life and domestic life is a subject that has been the object of many scholars through the last decades. Much research focuses on women’s daily routines, equal share of the household chores (cooking, cleaning etc.), childcare (caring for and educating children), social life, and personal care activities. In addition to that, time statistics analyses in most countries claim that working women do more house hold chores compared to the men, in the family. Depending on different surveys and countries the distribution of domestic duties by gender changes from culture to culture. The values of the culture affect the relation between gender roles and unpaid house works. To emphasise and visualize this issue, a cross-cultural photography project was carried out in Denmark and Turkey named “One Day”.

The documentary project was the work of photographer Sehlem Sebik, who was supported by the Danish Government Cultural Scholarship, FREIA (Feminist Research Centre at Aalborg University) and EDGE (Centre for Equality, Diversity, Gender at Aalborg University). The project aimed to show working married mothers’ “One Day” after work. The goal of the project was to observe one day of working mothers in two different cultures.

You are all invited to come and enjoy the party!