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From child bride to mayor, Berivan Kilic tells her story

After an abusive marriage and a divorce, Berivan Kilic became the first woman elected co-mayor of Kocakoy, Diyarbakir, stepping forward as a role model for Kurdish women.

KOCAKOY, Turkey — A heavy rain fell as the plane landed in Diyarbakir on the morning of April 13. Along the route from the airport to downtown, scrappy concrete construction defied beauty. In contrast, the Diyarbakir-Bingol/Mus highway leading from Diyarbakir to the district of Kocakoy, roughly 55 kilometers (35 miles) from the city center, was surrounded by green fields of wheat and lentil across the Diyarbakir plateau. I arrived in Kocakoy, a district of 17,000 people, to meet Berivan Kilic, the first woman to hold an elected office in the district's local government.

Berivan was waiting for me in front of her single-story home, just two blocks from a mosque. She wore a burgundy head covering, a long, black, partially pleated skirt and a gray, black and white long-sleeve top. Berivan greeted me with the air of a confident yet reserved woman.

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