Turkish filmmakers express solidarity with ‘Iranian sisters’ demanding freedom

Female filmmakers in Turkey have released a video in which they express solidarity with Iranian women rising up to demand freedom as they protest the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini in the custody of Iran’s “morality police,” Turkish minute reported, citing Turkish local media.

Arrested by the morality police, who enforce strict rules in the Islamic Republic requiring women to cover their hair and wear loose-fitting clothes in public, for allegedly wearing the hijab improperly, Amini suffered a heart attack, fell into a coma and died on Sept. 16 while in custody, state-affiliated media claimed.

Her family insists she had no previous health problems, and activists claim she may have been beaten by police.

The death of Amini, a Kurdish woman from western Iran, has sparked outrage over the government’s increasingly strict enforcement of an ultraconservative dress code for women, compulsory since Iran’s 1979 revolution, with Iranian women demanding an end to gender-based injustice and state-sanctioned violence by cutting their hair and removing and even burning their hijabs in public.

In response, the Iranian government has shut down the internet and used excessive force. Iranian authorities have beaten people with batons, fired live ammunition at protesters from close range and wrongfully employed tear gas and water cannons, killing at least 76 protestors and arresting hundreds more, according to Amnesty International.

A number of female filmmakers in Turkey who created Instagram and Twitter accounts named “Stand with Women of Iran – Turkey,” on Thursday posted a video in which they voiced their support for protesters in Iran, saying, “For freedom, for our sisters, at all costs, revolt! We are together in this resistance for freedom, we are with you.”

The group also invited all women in Turkey, regardless of profession, to shoot and post similar videos to express solidarity with Iranian women so they can tell “our friends who are resisting on the streets of Iran” that they are not alone and contribute to the voices being heard all over the world.

The Turkish women’s video came after Iranian filmmakers Bahman Ghobadi and Asghar Farhadi called for the support and participation of the creative community, including artists, filmmakers, writers and civil rights activists from all over the world, in the protests of Iranian women by making videos, in writing or some other way.

Turkish filmmakers also signed a petition written in Turkish, Kurdish and English and titled “Open call from filmmakers” in which they said, “We bow respectfully before the honorable stance of the [Iranian] people who risk death while resisting for their rights. … We are with you.”

Turkey’s pop music diva, Sezen Aksu, also released a written message on her website to voice her support for the protestors, according to Turkish media reports.

“How many deaths does freedom require? How many women, how many children, how many fights, how many wars, how many tortures, how many hells? … Your pain is my pain, your struggle is my struggle,” she said.

Since the death of Amini, Iranian women in Turkey have staged numerous protests outside Tehran’s İstanbul consulate. Another such demonstration was held on Thursday, with Iranian women holding photos of Amini and shouting “Death to the dictator” and “Damn the Iranian government.” They also burned black hijabs during the protest.

Members from Turkey’s women’s rights organization the We Will Stop Femicide Platform (Kadın Cinayetlerini Durduracağız Platformu) also marched from the İstanbul Governor’s Office to the consulate in support of the Iranian protestors and made a statement to the press.

“Don’t think that Iran is too far from us. We will [also] fight, we will stop this course of events. …We will resist until the end,” they said.

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