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The Abortion Debate and Profeminist Coalition Politics in Contemporary Turkey

  • Didem Unal (a1)

This article presents a qualitative analysis of profeminist Islamic women public figures’ discourses in the abortion debate in Turkey in 2012. The aim is to reveal the possibilities and limitations of achieving an intersectional and egalitarian profeminist collaboration on the Islamic-secular axis in contemporary Turkey. Drawing on recent feminist scholarship on coalition politics, the article exposes the fluctuations of meaning and the shifting frames of reference in these women's narratives and relates this hybrid, dynamic narrative quality to profeminist Islamic women's unique social location. It also elaborates on the blockage points in these narratives that hinder coalitional ways of thinking. Within this frame, this article suggests that in a social and political context that has witnessed a striking upsurge of antifeminist gender politics in the last decade, the building of coalitional profeminist politics beyond the Islamic-secular divide can be facilitated by shifting the focus from the apparently irreconcilable character of ideological positionings and lived experiences toward coalitional rhetorical strategies and intermediary narrative lines in profeminist subjects’ accounts.

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The author wishes to thank the Institute of Advanced Studies of Central European University and the Thyssen Stiftung. This work would not have been possible without their financial support. The author also wishes to express her gratitude to the editor and the anonymous reviewers for their useful suggestions and comments.

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