The Representations of Kurdish Women in Selected Turkish Novels


  • Gharbi M. Mustafa Department of Translation, Nawroz University, Duhok, Kurdistan Region of Iraq
  • Kawyar Y. Ahmed Faculty of Humanities, University of Zakho, Duhok, Kurdistan Region of Iraq



The representations of minorities by the mainstream writers have frequently been viewed negatively. The depiction has been of a major concern to the literary writings. However, the representations of Kurdish women in Turkish literary works has rarely been tackled in scholarly papers and researches. Generally, the life of a Kurdish woman is molded by patriarchal practices, traditions, and customs that govern all social zones, rather than the legal rights. The patriarchal ideologies embedded in women’s mind make them believe that they could do nothing but what is expected from them; to be submissive and obedient.This research paper focuses on the representation of the Kurdish women in selected modern Turkish novels by three particular Turkish novelists: Honor (Penguin, 2012) by Elif Shafak written in English language ; Face to Face by Ayşe Kulin (Everest, 2006)  written in Turkish ; The Legend of Ararat ( Collins and Harvill Press, 197)  by Yashar Kemal written in Turkish . The research aims at selecting a variety of authors based on gender, ethnicity, Language and region.  Yashar Kemal, is a Turkish writer of a Kurdish origin from Gökçedam, a village in the southern province of Osmaniya; Elif Shafak, is a Turkish-British writer who lives abroad and Ayşe Kulin, a woman writer from Istanbul. By means of textual analysis, the study investigates the representation of Kurdish women in these texts. Through a comparative approach, the paper endeavors to examine the ways in which the selected authors depict the Kurdish women and their social predicaments in their fictional works. Moreover, it investigates the images and conditions these authors depict to the mainstream Turkish readers as well as to the public readers in the rest of the world. This is portrayed through the construction of specific female characters that enhances a stereotype Kurdish women, who are powerless, submissive, ignorant and victims of the patriarch Kurdish society in southwest Turkey. It also explore the diversity in the authors' representation; the sympathetic to the Kurds, challenging the stereotypes viewpoints of the Kurdish women or the negative image and the harsh representation that includes depicting misconceptions and defects in the construction of the Kurdish identity and social structure. The women in the novels are presented as victims of the gender-based system simply for having been born female; they are marginalized and discriminated against in a variety of ways.


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How to Cite

Mustafa, G. M., & Ahmed, K. Y. (2020). The Representations of Kurdish Women in Selected Turkish Novels. Academic Journal of Nawroz University, 9(3), 260–278.