Human Rights

Turkey LGBTI Human Rights Report 2013-2017 published

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Based Human Rights Watch Report covering the years 2013-2017 was published.

Kaos GL and Pink Life Associations monitoring positive developments and human rights violations based on sexual orientation and gender identity since 2006 have recently published their five-year reports.

Due to the fact that there is no official database to report hate crimes, only the cases obtained from Kaos GL and Pembe Hayat Associations’ own networks and news took part in the report. Additionally, general information for each year is given place in the report.

Summaries of the years are as follows:

2013: Invisibility and struggle for rights

Besides the human rights violations, 2013 was the year of struggle and solidarity. During the demonstrations starting with the occupation of Gezi Park and spreading the whole country, millions of people from different segments/ groups of the society came together. Thanks to the spirit of Gezi resistance, LGBTIs from many different parts of Turkey went on the streets. It is believed that LGBTI struggle and visibility during the Gezi protests will contribute positively to the movement in the short and long terms.

In 2013, the Constitution Conciliation Commission "agreed" that heterosexuals are more equal, and homosexuality continued to be stamped as "non-natural bestiality" in the changing Disciplinary Code of the Turkish Armed Forces.

Judiciary on evaluating hate crimes against LGBTIs did not surprise us again and applied "unjust provocation reduction" in the cases resulting in 2013. While the organization of LGBTI students was hampered on the grounds that "the society is not ready for this", Provincial Associations Directorate determined that the aims of the associations established in Mersin and Van are contrary to the "moral and Turkish family structure".

In sum, 2013 was the year of non-stop human rights violations and struggles.

2014: Human rights violations and unsurprising routines

Although the positive developments took place during the year, unsurprising routines with regards to LGBTI rights remained during 2014: With the amendment in Turkish Penal Code (TCK), “hate crime” was identified in the law, but it did not include sexual orientation and gender identity. Therefore, any legislation on struggle against discrimination prepared in terms of the international standards went into force. 

Constitutional Court ruled that calling LGBTIs as “pervert” is a hate crime. On the other hand, pro-government media organs continued their hateful speeches targeting LGBTIs.

Private sector did not make any policy to protect the rights of LGBTI employees and equal employment opportunities.

There was a case that due to their sexual orientation a teacher was investigated and eventually fired from their school. They took legal action against the case and it was successful. State Council ruled that firing someone in terms of their sexual orientation is violation of right to privacy.

2015: Attacks to the marches and prevention of freedom of expression

2015 was a year when bombs exploded, massacres took place, systematic attacks held on social groups by the state, there were many detentions and arrests, and right to live as the most fundamental rights was not protected. In addition to positive developments in terms of LGBTI rights, it was generally a year that violations of LGBTI human rights continued.

Administrative measures were given to 7 LGBTI website by Telecommunications Communication Presidency (TİB).

In two cases, students were attacked due to LGBTI banners and rainbow flags in universities.

Bafra Prison prevented Kaos GL publications to be reached to the prisoner by citing "obscene" content.

Police forces attackes Pride March with tear gas and plastic bullets, and many people got injured. After police attacked the Pride March, a conservative group called Genç İslami Müdafaa (Young Islamic Defence) hung banners on the streets which calls LGBTIs to be killed.

2016: Discrimination was legitimized

2016 finished under the shadow of state of emergency. In an atmosphere where all fundamental rights and freedoms were suspended, and enormous power and authority were given to police forces, LGBTIs who are contrary to “all public values” became more vulnerable and unprotected.

Discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity and intersex status were not included – so to say not protected- in Turkey's Institution of Human Rights and Equality (TİHEK) Law, so discrimination was legitimized by the state itself.

Any measures were taken in order to prevent the hate speech targeting LGBTIs, and LGBTI marches were banned by the governorships in İstanbul, Ankara and İzmir.

2017: Bans!

2017 also passed through with the darkness of state of emergency.

Any measures were taken against the hate speeches and Pride March in İstanbul was banned by the governorship.

Starting with the ban on German LGBTI movie screenings, chain of bans continued with the ban on all public events organized by LGBTI organizations. Then Beyoğlu Province Municipality banned another movie screening and in Bursa police forces stopped the organization of a movie screening with a raid.

Court cases in 2017 has many negative results in terms of LGBTI rights: the remission good conduct time and unjust provocation were implemented in favor of the perpetrator; objection against the nolle prosequi for the attacks to Pride Marches was also rejected; objection against the prevention of access to news was rejected; action for annulment taken against the ban on IDAHOT marches were rejected. On the other hand, Constitutional Court changed the condition on forced sterilization during transition process; Constitutional Court ruled that police officers cannot fine the sex workers on the grounds of Misdemeanor Law; Constitutional Court ruled for a compensation against HIV+ discrimination case; Supreme Court gave lifelong imprisonment to Rosin’s murderers; Constitutional Court Deputy Chairman Engin Yıldırım voted in favor of transgender people in the cases of administrative fines; a transphobic murderer was given lifelong imprisonment in Çorlu.

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