Women in street market take action to keep men out

Women in street market take action to keep men out
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Women stallholders in a street market in Turkey’s southeast city of Diyarbakir keep watch at nights to stop men from setting up benches in their women-only Jiyan Market

Vendors in a women-only street market in Baglar district of Diyarbakir in Turkey’s southeast have been keeping watch against men who eye to set up shop there with the help of the mayor from AKP (Justice and Development Party) who himself had replaced the elected mayor from the pro-Kurdish HDP (Democratic Regions Party) through judicial maneuver.

The “Jiyan Market” meaning women’s market in Kurdish language, was set up in 2013 by the municipal leadership of the DBP (Democratic Regions Party) to employ women who were exposed to violence, whose economic situation was poor and who wanted to work. In the market, 258 female tradesmen were opening stalls.

Mayor from AKP gave way for men

Men started targeting the market after 2019 local elections, when

The HDP candidate won but was denied a mandate because “a decree” by the government did not let him, paving the way for the second-ranked AKP candidate to become the mayor.

With the arrival of the new mayor, despite the resistance of the women, the Jiyan Market was opened to men. Among the women, male stallholders were also placed.

As the neighborhood developed and new buildings were built, the area became of more value and the mayor placed more and more men stallholders among women. The street market, which was set up by women on Monday, started to be allocated to men on Thursday as well.

Reacting to this decision, women started action. They stayed overnight in the market and said that they would not allow the market areas to be given to men. Despite the objections of the women, men still set up stalls on Thursday morning.