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Duygu Asena, 60; Turkish Writer Sought Women’s Rights

From the Associated Press

Duygu Asena, a bestselling writer and crusader for women’s rights in Turkey, has died after a two-year battle with a brain tumor. She was 60.

Asena, author of the book “Woman Has No Name,” died in Istanbul’s American Hospital early Sunday after being admitted on Thursday with a high temperature and respiratory problems, the hospital said.

Asena had trained to be a teacher but began writing for newspaper women’s pages in the early 1970s.

“I soon figured out that writing about butterflies and cooking every day was not for me. I had to give a message,” she said in a 1994 interview with the Associated Press.

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The message, as she wrote in a magazine article, was this: “Escape the vicious circle. Fight for your equal rights,” and get a job as a first step toward freedom.

In 1978, she founded the first women’s magazine in Turkey. Ignoring taboos, Asena was the first Turkish writer to explore such topics as women’s rights, sexuality and wife-beating.

“Woman Has No Name” broke sales records when it was printed in 1987.

It was soon banned by the government, which found it to be too lewd and obscene.

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The ban was lifted after a two-year court battle. A film adaptation of the book broke box office records in Turkey.

Asena wrote eight other feminist novels, including “There Is No Love” -- a sequel to “Woman Has No Name” -- and wrote weekly newspaper columns.

In her 1994 interview, she had a mixed view of the progress that women had made in Turkey. “We’ve come a long way,” she told the AP, “but there’s still a long way to go.”


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