Turkey’s Women Lead a Regional Transition
“We’re focused on sports, not politics. We don’t deny that we are Kurds. But when we play, we never say, ‘We are Kurds and they are Turks.’” - Tahir Temel
Sitting in an especially tense region of Southern Turkey, Hakkari is a province trailed by hardships. From widespread unemployment to ongoing clashes between Kurdish and Turkish forces, life is precarious. More so, for women who reside in the region, one in which stories of forced marriages and honor killings are not unusual. And yet, despite these hurdles, a group of women have found empowerment through soccer. Since debuting in 2008, Hakkari Power, a team filled with local women, has sped through promotions, last season becoming the only team in the entirety of Turkey to finish their year without conceding a goal. More importantly, women have from the side have found opportunities through the club, one in which ethnicity and cultural background are insignificant, with several gaining roles in Turkey’s national youth team and more finding scholarships with local universities.