Penalisation of Kurdish children under the Turkish Anti-Terror Law: Abandonment, sovereignty and lawfare
This article explores how the disproportionate penalisation of Kurdish minors under the Turkish Anti-Terror Law informs their political imagination and experiences of the Turkish state. By depriving Kurdish children of the rights to which they are otherwise entitled as minor citizens of Turkey, the Anti-Terror Law takes the form of a vertical relation of abandonment that excludes children from the law’s protection. Drawing on ethnographic research I conducted in a south-eastern town of Turkey bordering Syria, I contextualise the abandonment of Kurdish children within Turkey’s growing lawfare, whereby the Turkish state resorts to criminal prosecutions and mass incarceration as means to discipline the populace. Kurdish children’s abandonment in the midst of lawfare encourages a wide range of social groups to exert control and harm on them with impunity behind and beyond bars. The resultant web of constant punishment and surveillance reinforces the image of the lawmaker as an omnipotent entity that, children come to believe, haunts them on a daily basis.