01/09/2006 | Writer: KAOS GL

The New Anatolian / Ankara
25 August 2006

In a move signaling a possible lack of support for the recent gay-baiting remarks of Justice and Development (AK) Party deputy leader Dengir Mir Mehmet Firat, the AK Party has broken tradition by not putting Firat's statement on its website.

Firat, who accused a political opponent of having a "wrong" sexual preference, has been criticized by the opposition and gay groups alike.

His own party's breaking the tradition of placing its leaders' remarks on the website also signaled the party's lack of support for Firat's statements.

Main opposition leader Deniz Baykal compared the recent actions of AK Party officials to street children hurling insults. "People can be angry at each other, but there are ways to express that anger," said Baykal. "But if you still express your anger using the language of street children, this makes for a disturbing picture."

On Monday AK Party deputy leader Firat, in an unusual move, accused Baykal's chief aide, Republican People's Party (CHP) group spokesperson Haluk Koc of acting as if he has "wrong" sexual preferences.

Firat's statement on Monday wasn't only about Koc, but also about the government's policy on sending troops to a planned international peacekeeping force in Lebanon.

Firat vs. dignity of politics

CHP Istanbul Deputy Kemal Kilicdaroglu asked the premier whether he intends to change the party program or his deputy in a question motion citing a chapter from the AK Party's program that expresses its opposition to attempts to abase the dignity of Turkish politics.

He also asked whether Erdogan will force his deputy to apologize to the people, saying that not doing so would mean that Erdogan is also willing to corrupt the political realm.

'A homophobic argument'

In related news, a gay rights group released a statement saying that Firat's remarks are an indication of his homophobia. "There might be no lesbian, gay or bisexual deputy or employee in Parliament today," said Kaos GL. "Besides, none of them will ever come out and say that it's discrimination to call them 'wrong' sexual preferences. Everyone might be ignorant about homosexuals, but caricaturing homosexuality is no solution."

Kaos GL said that they have been publishing a magazine to help overcome misinformation about homosexuality for 12 years and sending one copy to Parliament's library, suggesting Firat read their magazine to correct homophobic prejudices.

"Homosexuality, bisexuality and heterosexuality aren't sexual preferences; they are sexual orientations," said the group. "Characterizing any sexuality other than heterosexuality as wrong, however, is a homophobic preference. It's sexual discrimination against homosexuals. Isn't that a crime?"

Original Link: http://www.thenewanatolian.com/tna-13420.html
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