Forced Marriage Among Europe’s Immigrants: Hülya Kalkan’s Story

Forced Marriage Among Europe’s Immigrants: Hülya Kalkan’s Story

Editor's Note: This is the fourth in a series of articles by Rhea Wessel on the rights of Muslim women in Europe, particularly Turkish women in Germany. The stories will appear occasionally on World Politics Review. Read the rest of the articles in the series here.

STUTTGART, Germany -- Hülya Kalkan recently joined the growing ranks of German women of Turkish descent who have written condemning accounts of their young lives. In her book, "I Just Wanted to be Free," published in 2005, Kalkan relates how she and, a few years later, her younger sister Esme narrowly escaped being forced to marry strangers while visiting relatives in Turkey. In a recent visit here, Kalkan told me their remarkable story.

I met Hülya on a cold Tuesday in December. She picked me up from Stuttgart's main train station, and we drove downtown in her older-model black Renault Clio. While shopping and eating, we talked about her experiences and her work helping girls and young women whose families are trying to force them into marriage. Now 27, she is attending night school to earn a high school diploma. By the time she's 29, she'll be able to enroll at a university to study social work. Hülya is making up the school years that were stolen from her as a young woman.

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