Turkish main opposition leader on same-sex marriage: Nobody can interfere with everybody’s life

Friday, April 17, 2015
Kemal Kilicdaroglu, the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader, sent supportive messages with regards to marriage equality on an online platform Sunday night. Kilicdaroglu had claimed that “society is not ready for a gay mayor” two years earlier, addressing the same community.
CHP leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu responded to questions on the Eksi Sozluk website, an urban dictionary popular among young people, under a thread that was posted on Sunday night, titled “Hello I am CHP General President Kemal Kilicdaroglu.”
“What do you promise to LGBTI people?”
Upon Kılıçdaroğlu’s failure to display a consistent attitude regarding LGBTI equality before the upcoming June 7 general elections, the following question was asked:
“During your election campaign, will you be able to grab the microphone and say ‘I promise an egalitarian citizenship and constitutional protections for LGBTI [lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, intersex] people’? What are your personal thoughts on LGBTI marriage equality?”
The CHP leader, referring to a viral video about the abolition of the headscarf ban, replied “nobody can interfere with everybody’s life :)”
“CHP leader should have given a serious answer”
Even though Kilicdaroglu’s response was applauded generally by the website’s contributors, a writer by the screen name jish cha directed the following criticism towards Kilicdaroglu:
“This Q&A might be funny for most of us, but for some people living in this country this is a serious question/problem. Joking is okay and fun but I think that he should have given a serious answer.”
CHP MPs working for LGBTI equality
Despite Kilicdaroglu’s failure in proactively discussing LGBTI rights, CHP MPs have proposed numerous bills and parliamentary questions on the issue.
Two weeks ago, CHP has proposed a Social Cohesion and Social Inclusion Bill which also includes LGBTIs. The party had also proposed a Labor Bill for LGBTI people in February.
Earlier in January, Faruk Çelik, Minister of Labor and Social Security, in response to CHP MP Mahmut Tanal’s parliamentary question, had expressed on behalf of the ministry that they did not support LGBTI people’s participation in the workforce.
Two years earlier Kilicdaroglu had said “society is not ready”
Kılıçdaroğlu had answered the question “Would you nominate a gay candidate in the local elections?” by saying “society is not yet ready for a gay mayor” in a meeting held in December 2013 with 20 Eksi Sozluk writers.
Despite this prior response, Kilicdaroglu had come together with representatives from the Platform for LGBT Political Representation and Participation before the 2014 local elections. Sedef Cakmak and Celik Ozdemir from Istanbul, and Oykü Evren Ozen from Bursa had been nominated to run for membership for the respective local parliaments, however they have not won the elections. Sedef Cakmak has later been elected in March 2015 as member of the local parliament of Besiktas, becoming the first openly lesbian assembly member of the Municipality of Besiktaş and of any local parliament in Turkey at large.
Trans activist Niler Albayrak, who was a candidate for nomination in preparation for the 2015 general elections, subsequently failed to be nominated by CHP. The main opposition party does not have any openly LGBTI candidates running for the 2015 general elections.
Related news:
Gay and trans candidates to run for Turkish general elections 
Translation: LGBTI News Turkey
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