A Refugee Turned Activist: FERIDE ÖZER*

Following the July 15 incidents, many people had to leave Turkey. Among them are a large number of university students as well. Feride Özer, a student of political science and public administration, is one of them. Feride Özer, who lives in a refugee camp in the Netherlands, is a young talent forced to leave her country. Feride has been in the Netherlands for nine months, and she recently came to the fore with her support for actions that brought human rights violations to the schedule.


Refugee activist Feride Özer told her story and her dreams to TR724:

“I came from Turkey, and I was a student of political science and public administration back there. I have been living in the Netherlands for about nine months. During the summer of 10th grade, my school Anafen Science High School was shut down by a government decree. My friends and I had to go through a transition period to new schools for weeks. During this period, we visited district national education directorates under the Ministry of National Education. Each of us was given different information during these visits. Officials talked about the fact that they are keeping a tab on us and that we will not be able to work in the future, and that they will probably send us all to the religious vocational high schools, strongholds of Erdogan regime and its doctrines, or that our education life would be completely over. Later, I switched to Anatolian High School. I spent two years there filled with pressure and social isolation. At the end of this period, I came to realize that my chances in Turkey are on thin ice and that I have no future there. So I decided to leave Turkey and come to the Netherlands.


Dutch people always welcomed us warmly and sincerely. For that, I’m forever thankful. Yet I am saddened as there are still many prisoners in Turkey that are not released even when there is a new coronavirus threat in prisons. My former teachers, neighbors, some of my relatives are within this group of imprisoned people. I hope these tough times end in their favor as soon as possible. With the demonstration we organized on March 8, we tried to make the voices of female prisoners in Turkey heard all over the world. If only this were the last protest we had to organize, but so long as the Erdogan government continues the state oppression and social genocide, we will continue to stand up to these persecutions.”



“If our people do not remain silent and stand up to injustice, it will affect the government because governments go in the direction of the people. The rest of society should say no to injustice.”

Feride Özer thinks that she would return to Turkey if and when things get back to normal there: “I’d like to get back to Turkey and work towards a plan to prevent Turkey from going back to such dark times. Public education is essential in this regard. These sorts of tough times keep happening every 30-40 years in Turkey. I will do my best to prevent this from happening again. Finally, the recent bitter news I learned is Ahmet Burhan Atac’s death. Ahmet was a child who was abandoned to a terminal disease before the eyes of everyone in Turkey. Maybe if he had the opportunity to access early treatment or if at least he had his father by his side, his morale would have been higher, and we would not have experienced this pain yesterday. The life of a child is not that cheap. I hope those who caused this death will get what they deserve as soon as possible. A kid who had been barred from going abroad for medical treatment had passed away similarly in the past. This is a challenging period to go through. May Allah give patience to his parents and family. These events should come to an end now.”



Feride Ozer is one of the young and active member of Broken Chalk.

Translated by Broken Team from https://www.tr724.com/bir-multeci-aktivist-feride-ozer/

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