Drawing one’s lipstick and …!

Leman Kiraz

Tüm Maliye Sen (Later Office Labourers Union -BES), Ankara, from the 1990s to the 2010s 

KESK organised a meeting in Diyarbakır on March 8, 1998. It was decided that the meeting was to be conducted by women only in  cooperation with the members of the union of  public servants. We met in Ankara, with four hundred women, coming from İstanbul, İzmir and many other cities. The reason for this action was that there was severe repression where Kurdish people live, much more  than what we had been going through. 


A group of gendarmerie, a special group of the police force against terrorists and and a group of ordinary policemen/women stopped us one by one when entering Birecik. Each of them did their own security scan. This was violence on its own. In spite of this  women danced the halay, chanted folk songs and slogans while they were waiting. We were released in Birecik, and stopped once more while entering Urfa. Friends from the KESK Urfa Branches Platform who came to meet us were taken into custody.  We left Urfa and as we were entering Siverek, helicopters started to fly over us. And then we saw the army corps.

This made us, four hundred women, very angry. We were forcefully pushed into buses and we were followed by hundreds of police vehicles to make sure we did not stop until we had returned to Birecik. 

How did we calm down? We all drew our lipsticks and used them to write  on the bus windows: “We will come again”, “Long live solidarity for peace” “Long live March 8″ “Long live women’s solidarity”. 

To read the full text of Leman Kiraz’ oral history interview of 2022 (in Turkish)  click here.

To watch Leman Kiraz’s video (in Turkish) click below.