Gay and trans candidates to run for Turkish general elections

Wednesday, April 8, 2015
Political parties in Turkey announced their candidate lists yesterday in the upcoming parliamentary election. The pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party nominated 3 LGBTI activists as candidates, yet from lower positions. A trans activist was also nominated as the newly founded Anatolia Party candidate.
Political parties in Turkey submitted their lists of candidates to the Supreme Election Board (YSK) yesterday as the country gets prepared for the June 7 general elections. Only 4 LGBTI activists were nominated as candidates for the 550-seat parliament and they are at lower positions on the lists, which postpones the hopes for the first openly LGBTI MP in Turkey until the 2019 elections.  
Baris Sulu, an openly gay HDP candidate, was nominated from Eskisehir in the last position. For Sulu, having LGBTI candidates itself is more valuable than their position on the list. However, he said that he wished there were more LGBTI candidates.
Baris Sulu carrying a banner which reads: "LGBT rights is a whole that cannot be divided!"
In a interview last month, Sulu approached the ongoing Kurdish resolution process from LGBTI perspective and said: “Peace must also be made with the LGBTIs in the resolution process.”
The HDP, which has to pass the 10 percent electoral threshold, also nominated two feminist and LGBTI activists -Ozlem Sen from Mersin in the 4th position and Gulistan Aydogdu from Ankara in the 12th position- as candidates.
Deva Ozenen, a Christian trans woman in Izmir, was nominated as a candidate by the Anatolia Party which was founded by Emine Ulker Tarhan who resigned from the main opposition Republican People’s Party last year.
Deva Ozenen (left) and Emine Ulker Tarhan (right)
“I am an ‘other’ both as a trans and as a Christian. By nominating me as a candidate, the Anatolia Party showed that they are not canvassing,” Ozenen told  
Ozenen also underlined that Kemalism is not an elitist ideology but it embraces all oppressed groups including sexual minorities.  
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