Gendered state violence and post-coup migration out of Turkey

Elsevier, Women's Studies International Forum, Volume 99, 1 July 2023
Sarac B.N., Girdap H., Hiemstra N.

Through a study of migration patterns out of Turkey since 2016, this paper examines how state-sponsored gendered violence contributes to international migration. While gender-based violence is acknowledged as a critical driver of migration, existing scholarship generally focuses on domestic violence and violence by non-state actors. This paper examines how gendered violence perpetrated or encouraged by the state can force migration. While women in Turkey have long experienced shifting approaches to women's rights, after the July 2016 coup attempt, state-led and state-sanctioned violence intensified and became visible as a tool to repress alleged dissidents, minorities, and LGBTQ individuals. Drawing on semi-structured interviews with recent migrants and an analysis of news articles and reports by international governmental and non-governmental organisations, the paper identifies gendered forms of violence perpetrated by the Turkish state that lead to decisions to migrate. In doing so, the paper draws attention to the role of state-sponsored gender-based violence as a cause of human mobility.