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385 ÖZTUNALI, Nurser (1947–1999) Turkish architect, city planner, publisher; leading activist of the ‘second wave’ feminist movement in Turkey; founder (1984) of the Kadın Çevresi Yayınları (Women’s Circle Publications ); founder (1990) of the Mor Çatı Kadın Sığınağı Vakfı (Purple Roof Women’s Shelter Foundation); founder (1995) and member of the Mimarlık Vakfı (Architecture Foundation). Nurser Öztunalı was born on 4 February 1947 in Mersin, the eldest daughter of a middle-class family from Istanbul. Her father, Hilmi Öztunalı (1924–1990), was a customs officer; her mother, Semiha (b. 1927; maiden name Balcı), a housewife. Nurser Öztunalı had two sisters: Gülser (1952), a feminist academic and Eser (1956), an export manager. Gülser is currently a professor in the Department of Public Administration at Akdeniz University and an activist in the Turkish feminist movement (a volunteer with the Purple Roof Foundation). Öztunalı lived in Istanbul from the age of three and graduated from the Fatih Kız Lisesi (Fatih Girls’ High School) with honours in 1968. She majored in architecture (1972) at the Fine Arts State Academy. In 1969, while still a university student, she married a doctor, Ali Şevket Bürkev (b. 1945). The couple had two daughters: Amila (1974–1996) and Beyza (b. 1970). In the authoritarian and depoliticizing aftermath of the 1980 Military Coup—when political and social opposition had been subdued and every movement for freedom had been driven underground—Nurser joined other leftist women in publicly defining themselves as feminists and carrying out feminist political activity. After divorcing her husband (1981) on the grounds that “she had experienced systematic physical violence in her marriage” (Öztunalı, personal archival collection, doc. no. 10/2), Öztunal ı’s small office became a center for the new feminist movement in Turkey: a forum for heated ideological and political debates; a meeting place for consciousness-raising groups; a publishing house for feminist publications and pamphlets and a headquarters for activists planning protest activities. Öztunalı was among the 35 women in Istanbul to set up the Kadın Çevresi Yayınları (Women’s Circle Publications) in 1984. The Women’s Circle translated and published feminist books and articles with the aim of raising women’s awareness of women’s issues and sexism in Turkish society. This explicitly feminist and independent publish- 386 ing project responded to an increasing demand for theoretical and political knowledge about feminism. The ‘feminist enlightenment’ that Öztunalı herself experienced in the 1980s as an architect changed her perspective on her profession and she began contributing to the development of a new sensibility regarding women’s needs in the fields of architecture and city planning. Arguing for, and applying ‘woman-friendly’ approaches , Öztunalı initiated and contributed to the realization of a number of architectural projects as the founder (in 1995) of the Mimarlık Vakfı (Architecture Foundation ). Throughout the 1980s and early 1990s, feminists began addressing women’s subordination—particularly in the private sphere—and politicizing problems relating to women’s identities ‘as women.’ Öztunalı was among the first to talk publicly (and therefore courageously) about violence against women, especially domestic violence . She openly declared that, despite being an educated and professional woman of relatively high social status, she had been systematically beaten by her husband throughout her married life and she urged women to unite and say ‘No!’ to all forms of violence. By 1987, the information and experience accumulated in the early 1980s—a “period of ideological preparation” (Tekeli 1989, 36)—had become a full-blown political movement in the form of campaigns and mass demonstrations. It was Öztunalı who gave the name “The Campaign against Wife Beating” to the impressive campaign against violence waged in Istanbul that year. Large numbers of women from a number of cities participated. For her part, Öztunalı argued tirelessly for a united stand among women against wife-beating, sexual harassment and sex discrimination. The campaign against violence against women was a real turning point in the development of the women’s movement: it helped render ‘taboo’ subjects visible; it disseminated critical discussion beyond the big cities and redefined domestic violence, rape, incest and sexual harassment in the workplace as salient problems in Turkish society, thus contributing to a further politicization of the private sphere. For Öztunalı, the campaign was an important part of the broader struggle to educate women to resist violence, question their personal situations, talk frankly about the violence they may have been subjected to, demand their rights and be empowered to...


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