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Kurdish Children Under the Shadow of Turkish Anti-Terror Law: Sovereignty, Lawfare and Abandonment
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Since the early 2000s, the Turkish socio-political landscape has witnessed a lawfare whereby the total number of adjudications and parliamentary legislations has notably increased, political grievances are taken to courthouses, and public obsession with crime and disorder has multiplied. During this period of time, the expansion of the judicial definition of “terror-related crimes” resulted in criminalization of different forms of political activism and paved the way for disproportionate penalization of Kurdish population in Turkey. Drawing on the narratives of formerly incarcerated Kurdish children residing in Samanlı neighborhood of Yeniköy, a southeastern province of Turkey, this thesis focuses on Kurdish minors’ repeated penalization by the Anti-Terror Law and examines its implications for the life-course of Kurdish children and for the perpetuation of state sovereignty. During their arrest, prosecution, and incarceration, the Anti-Terror Law deprives Kurdish children charged with “terror-related crimes” of the rights they are otherwise granted as minor citizens of Turkey. By placing Kurdish children beyond the law’s protection, it takes the form a vertical relation of abandonment, and entitles and encourages wider social groups to punish these minors on a daily basis. As a result, prison violence exerted on Kurdish children remains unpunished, and they are denied access to diverse resources such as education, employment and housing on the grounds that they are “terror-suspects.” Kurdish children also feel themselves under constant surveillance during their daily encounters with the security officials and Turkish residents of Samanlı. This web of constant punishment and surveillance reinforces the image of law-maker as an omnipotent entity, and perpetuates the state power and the lawfare by making them tangible in Kurdish minors’ daily encounters.
racialization and juvenilization of crime
juvenile political prisoners.
Hurman, Hazal (2019). Kurdish Children Under the Shadow of Turkish Anti-Terror Law: Sovereignty, Lawfare and Abandonment. Master's thesis, Texas A&M University. Available electronically from