Seyran Ates – Turkey

Linked with Muslim Women in Europe caught between traditions and secular ethos, and with Necla Kelek – Turkey and Germany. Sorry, I found no militant turkish women NGO.

Seyran Ateş (born 1963) is a German lawyer born in Istanbul, Turkey. Her article Making multiculturalism work. Multiculturalism details how the far left in Germany tolerates sexism and violence against women when it is done in the name of Islam . In a judgement regarding whether an Islamic schoolgirl could be exempted from gym class on March 24, 1994 (InfAuslR 8/92, S. 269), she quotes the ruling of a higher administrative court in Bremen: “it is irrelevant that adolescent Muslim women are prevented by the demands of their religion from achieving equal status as women in Western society”. Her views, highly critical of an immigrant Muslim society that is often more conservative than its counterpart in Turkey, have put her at risk. In an interview in January 2008, Ateş stated that she is now in hiding and will not be working on Muslim women’s behalf publicly (including in court) due to the threats against her. In one particular incident, she and her client were attacked by a woman’s husband in a German courthouse in front of onlookers who did nothing … (en.wikipedia).

She warns: “Minority protection with respect to Islam can only be had at the cost of the equal rights of women” … (full text).

Listen her audio interview on a german radio, 9.58 min, Oct. 1, 2007.


Seyran Ates – Turkey

Human rights activist and lawyer Seyran Ates, Turkey, was named Germany’s woman of the year in 2005 for her work in defense of Muslim women in immigrant communities … (full text).

She says: “I see left-wingers as particularly culpable for the mistakes made in current integration policy, because for a long time they hindered any debate. Despite all that left-wing thought aspires to, they did not look closely enough at what was actually happening in these communities, in the cultures that were settling in Germany” … (full interview text, 2007).

Her german website.

Seyran Ates opened a loose-leaf notebook in her fourth floor apartment in the center of Berlin and flipped through the pages of hate mail. She read the letters in a monotone. The 43-year-old Turkish-born attorney had the face of a weary warrior … (full text).

Seyran Ates on flickr’s photo sharing.

Each year, according to UN studies, more than one million people are forced into marriage – and for many years now, Berlin-based lawyer Seyran Ates has been fighting to increase the German public’s awareness of the issue. Sigrid Dethloff reports … (full text, 22.04.2004).

Seyran Ates (pictured), aged 43, is a lawyer, specialising in women’s rights. From a practice in Berlin, she had become well-known and her skills were eagerly sought by Muslim women. In 2005, she was named “German woman of the year”. She has long campaigned for forced marriages to be made illegal in Germany. Most of her clients have been Muslim women who have been trapped into forced marriage and other demeaning aspects of Muslim “honour” culture that persist. Many of these women are, like herself, from Turkish/Kurdish backgrounds. She also campaigned against the ultimate aspect of Muslim “honour” – Muslim honour killings … (full text, Sept. 6, 2006).

On the night of Feb. 7, 2005, Hatun Surucu, 23, was killed on her way to a bus stop in Berlin by several shots to the head and upper body, fired at point-blank range. An investigation showed that months before, she had reported one of her brothers to the police for threatening her. Now three of her five brothers are on trial for murder. According to the prosecutor, the oldest of them, 25, acquired the weapon; the middle brother, 24, lured his sister to the scene of the crime; and the youngest, 18, shot her. The trial began on Sept. 21. Ayhan Surucu, the youngest brother, had confessed to the murder and claimed that he had done it without any help. According to Seyran Ates, a lawyer of Turkish descent, it is generally the youngest who are chosen by a family council to carry out such murders, or to claim responsibility for them. German juvenile law sets a maximum sentence of 10 years’ imprisonment for murder, and the offender has the prospect of being released after serving two-thirds of the sentence … Evidently, in the eyes of her brothers, Hatun Surucu’s capital crime was that, living in Germany, she had begun living like a German … (full text, Dec. 4, 2005).

She says also: … I grew up in a very repressed household. I’d go to school, go home and have to do a lot of housework. It was a typical, traditional Turkish family. So many things were forbidden because I was a female. But in school I learned about freedom and gender democracy. So early on, I started thinking about women’s rights and fighting against the system. Before I was 18, I decided to run away from home … (full interview text, Dec. 19, 2005)..

6 months ago: German author and lawyer of Turkish origin Seyran Ates poses at the Frankfurt Book Fair 10 October 2007. Ates, who fights for women’s rights, has written books against honour killings and fored marriages, and had to close her lawyers office in Berlin in 2006 after being threatened. The fair, the world’s biggest of its kind with more than 7400 exhibitors of 110 countries, takes place from 10 to 14 October 2007 … Daylife photo.

For years, Seyran Ates has been a prominent figure in Germany on account of her books and public engagements reinforcing her fight against forced marriage, headscarves, so-called honor killings, domestic violence and the subjugation of women in many Turkish and Kurdish families. The 43-year-old German-Turkish lawyer, who was shot at by a Muslim man 20 years ago in Berlin’s Kreuzberg neighborhood, has received numerous prizes over the years. Last year, Ates was named Germany’s woman of the year for her unstinting battle for the rights of mainly Muslim women. Given her reputation for toughness and bravery, Ates’ recent announcement that she was closing her practice because she felt threatened has sent shockwaves through the German capital … (full text, Sept. 4, 2006).

Find her and her publications on NYT; on pipl; on; on Google Book-search; on Google Scholar-search; on Google Group-search; on Google Blog-search.

Deutsch türkische Politiker fordern unsere Schwestern auf ihre Kopftücher abzulegen: Laut einem Bericht der dpa haben türkisch deutsche Politiker sich gegen das Kopftuch geäußert und den Musliminnen empfohlen ihre Kopfbedeckung abzulegen, als ein Zeichen von Integration … (full text, Nov. 5, 2006).


The Internet in the life’s of Turkish Women;

The Dangers of Disengagement: Review of Seyran Ateş’ Der Multikulti-Irrtum, 27 January 2008;

Muslim Women in Europe, Great Series on NPR, Jan. 29, 2008;


Limits to;

Seyran Ates;

useful links of MWHL;

United Muslim Movement Against Homelessness/Helping Hands, Muslim Women’s Help Network, 166-26 89th Avenue, Jamaica, NY 11432, USA;
Contact: Tel. USA/ (718) 658-8210; Fax: USA/ (718) 658-3434, e-mail;

Assertiveness courses to ‘help Muslim women resist Al Qaeda‘, 7th January 2008;

Paris-Berlin, le débat (french): L’islamisme, une question cruciale pour l’Europe, 2008.

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