Pinar: "I just want to be myself. That's not possible here because I don't feel free, I often feel afraid."


Pinar's dream is Italy, because she does not feel equal and accepted as a woman in Turkey. The freelancer has a very international group of friends. Without them, there would be no reason for her to stay in Kadıköy. Her fear of sexual harassment and assault, which she has already experienced, is too big to live a normal life.

Pinar Illustration

Pinar has lived in the Yeldeğirmeni district of Kadıköy for 7 years. She grew up in İstanbul and has travelled a lot. She is particularly fond of countries in South Asia. Kadıköy is her base, but not a place she wants to live in forever. "This neighbourhood is considered more liberal and progressive than any other place in Turkey, but I want to go to Europe, preferably Italy."

She shares a flat with two other people. Pinar stands out with her short blonde dyed hair and always carefully styled in often extravagant, chic clothes. She is 33 years old, studied civil engineering and is a freelancer, working mainly on video projects.

She spends her free time at the hostel in her street, where she has many friends mostly travellers. "I am only friends with Europeans who have settled in Kadıköy or live in the hostel. Without these acquaintances, there would be no reason for me to stay here," Pinar says. Although she perceives Kadıköy as liberal, she only feels comfortable in "western" influenced groups. As an emancipated, single Turkish woman, she does not have the impression of being accepted by Turkish men, let alone on an equal footing with them.

"The equality enshrined in law is a farce! Turkish society is patriarchal and male-dominated. I constantly witness fights between men and women that get out of hand and arise from sexual harassment. I don't want to live in such an environment."

In addition, Pinar herself has experienced sexual harassment in the form of stalking on a daily basis. She says she does not even dare to step too close to her own window because her neighbour is watching her. "This perverted guy makes me feel uncomfortable in my own home!"

 The only way she could live her life the way she would like to live it and be authentic, would be if she left Turkey, she said. "I just want to be myself. That is not possible here because I do not feel free, I often feel afraid. When I try to resolve conflicts or stand up to men, I am ignored and my words are not accepted."

She would love to migrate to Italy as soon as possible and make documentaries there. She wants to travel and learn about other cultures and people. She wants to free herself from the influence of others on her life, not having to fear stalking or assault. She wants and create her own life: She wants to be free.