First Turkish women’s rally marked on its 101st anniversary

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The 101st anniversary of the first women’s rally in Turkey has been celebrated in the Black Sea province of Kastamonu, marking the event held on Dec. 10, 1919 when women raised their voices against the invasion of Anatolia by foreign occupiers.

The events, which are celebrated with great enthusiasm every year in the city, were held with a limited number of people this year as part of COVID-19 measures.

Ayten Kızıltan, the chairperson of Kastamonu Dec. 10 Women’s Platform Association, stated that, within the scope of the rallies in 1919, Turkish women sent a telegram to the first ladies of the world and asked them to stop the occupation and leave their country.

Noting that a telegram was also sent to the Queen of the United Kingdom and the Indian administration, Kızıltan said that they celebrate the struggle for freedom and democracy shown by Turkish women on Dec. 10 every year.

An online painting exhibition was prepared in cooperation with Kastamonu University and subsequently the governor and the mayor of the province were visited with a limited number of people.

Noting that this year’s events were partially somber due to the current pandemic conditions, Kızıltan gave the good news that more magnificent celebrations will be held next year.

Latife Ergün, an official from the association of “university women,” also stressed that 101 years ago, women residents of Kastamonu used to follow the developments in the world closely and held a huge rally in the city at that time to protest the occupation of the country.

“In a telegram sent by women from Kastamonu to the then French first lady, bilateral relations between France and Turkey from the past to the present were discussed,” Ergün noted, adding that Wilson Principles were mentioned in another telegram they sent to the United States.

“It is noteworthy that the women from Kastamonu use an extremely diplomatic language in the telegrams they sent, and how well they know the world culture,” Ergün said.

Ferhan Çelen, an NGO official from the province, stated that the events, which started with the participation of approximately 15,000 people in 1994, have continued with the same enthusiasm for 26 years.

Hurriyet Daily News

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