02/06/2023 | Writer: Yıldız Tar

And now we will stand by existence and rights struggle of LGBTI+s unconditionally just as all oppressed segments stood by Kurdish people against those who claimed “There are no Kurds”.

Green Left Party MP Konukçu: We will stand by the struggle of LGBTI+s unconditionally Kaos GL - News Portal for LGBTI+

Elections are over, however hostility against LGBTI+s, which hit the top in the election campaign of People’s Alliance hasn’t come to an end. President Erdoğan started with targeting LGBTI+s in his speech in Kısıklı on the night of the elections. Moreover New Welfare Party Youth Branches Chairperson Melih Güner reminded their election “promises” and said that they would make effort to close LGBTI+ associations even before the parliamentary members were sworn in.

LGBTI+ community is anxious, LGBTI+ associations have been in danger of closure since 2015. Well, are LGBTI+s alone? Is the response of the question “Is there anyone there?”, asked by Kaos GL in a Kurdish broadcast years ago, consisted of an echo?

According to Kezban Konukçu, brand new parliamentary member of Green Left Party which is one of the few parties that defend LGBTI+ rights in politics, it is out of the question. The İstanbul MP, who is also co-spokesperson of Socialist Solidarity Platform (SODAP), responded the hatred rising before swearing the parliamentary members in, before she, herself, was sworn in.

“The system aims to disorganize society”

Erdoğan’s first performance was targeting LGBTI+s in Kısıklı. He accused the opposition including People’s Democratic Party (HDP), by being “LGBTI+ supporter”. What do you think about Erdoğan’s discriminatory rhetoric?

Erdoğan based his entire election campaign on the discourse of survival and discriminatory approach against all citizens but for cis gender men. On one side he targeted all opposition parties, particularly our party, through the discourse of survival and on the other hand he targeted woman rights and LGBTI+s through a masculine approach. The system, which cannot overcome its crisis as it is seen to a great extend in the world, is trying to prolong its life by completely disorganizing society and strengthening the right-wing ideological hegemony. Unfortunately, discriminatory approaches may find a response in the reality of an unorganized society. LGBTI+ hostility is widespread just like the hostility against immigrants in many countries, where right-wing ideological hegemony is strengthened. And Erdoğan seems to be eager to continue this rhetoric which he deems functional.

“Democracy is not only to claim your own rights”

New Welfare Party Youth Branches Chairperson said that they would start to make effort in order to close LGBTI+ associations, even before swearing in. LGBTI+s seem to be among the premier agenda of the parliament. As MPs of Green Left Party, what kind of an attitude do you plan to maintain in the present case?

Our party program is clear enough in this sense. We will adopt a clear attitude and stand against discrimination targeting LGBTI+s and the denial of their existence, as we oppose all forms of discrimination. Democracy is not only to claim your own rights. Democracy is not possible unless you claim rights of all those who were oppressed and subjected to discrimination. In addition we will now stand by the existence and rights struggle of LGBTI+s unconditionally, just as all oppressed groups stood by the Kurdish people’s struggle for existence against those who once said, “There are no Kurds, they were called Kurds because of the sound Turks made when they walk on snow.”

“We will never leave each other alone against any form of discrimination”

Free Cause Party (HÜDA-PAR), known for the hostility against LGBTI+s and women, will also be in the parliament. What is in store for us in terms of gender in the upcoming period?

It is quite obvious that Erdoğan regime desires to punish women and LGBTI+s, who have built the strongest movement in recent times. The coming period will not be easy for us in this sense. However Erdoğan should be aware that he waged war against the most resistant group. We have gained too much experience in the practice of struggle for a long time. There is an essential background for women and LGBTI+ struggle all over the world  and in our geography, both in terms of fighting together and in terms of result-oriented methods of struggle. We will act first and foremost with a clear mind against all attacks.

“Organizations need to be reformed from trade unions to neighborhood councils and to woman and LGBTI+ organizations”

Do you think there is still a possibility of achieving a democratic transformation within the scope this entirely pessimistic atmosphere? If so, how is it possible?

There is always a possibility for democratic transformation. The pessimistic atmosphere shows that our task is not easy. It is extremely essential that all oppressed social segments should strengthen solidarity with each other. Organizations need to be reformed from trade unions to neighborhood councils and to woman and LGBTI+ organizations. Democracy is not limited to ballot box. We were aware of it and speaking of it however largest oppressed segments of society were locked in on ballot box by both the government and the Nation Alliance with the aim of blocking the opposition taken to streets. As socialists and as a political party we have always been in favor of opposition on streets while looking out for a balance between the ballot box and the street, we have always fought for this. That is why we preserve our existence as the most dynamic segment of society. What we need to do now is to transform the insistence of social segments, who are stubbornly in favor of change and democracy, into an organized power. 

Translation: Selma Koçak

Tags: human rights