05/12/2008 | Writer: KAOS GL

On November 5, 2008, the Commission adopted its annual strategy document explaining its policy on EU enlargement. The report also included a summary of the progress made last year in Turkey including the LGBT rights.

The report extensively covered the violations of the freedom of association of LGBT people referring to an Istanbul court decision to close Lambda Istanbul in May 2008.

Here are the excerpts from the report regarding the LGBT rights issues in Turkey:

PAGE 17:
The registration of the Turkish Armenian Business Development Council was rejected by the Governorate of Istanbul, without clear legal grounds. Following a case brought by the Istanbul Governorate, an Istanbul court decided in May to close down a lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender/transsexual (LGBTT) association. The Istanbul Governorate is accusing Amnesty International (AI) of illegal money collection. The competent Istanbul Administrative Court heard the case and decided in favor of AI. The Governor has appealed the case before the Council of State.

PAGE 24:
The principle of anti-discrimination is enshrined in the Constitution and upheld in several laws. Homosexual relationships between consenting adults in private are permitted in Turkey. In recent years, associations of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community registered for legal status in Turkey and prosecutors refused to press charges following a request by the Ministry of Interior to close them. This has enabled them to start advocating and defending the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.

However, the law does not duly mention all the grounds of discrimination, such as sexual orientation, and provisions of the Turkish Criminal Code on "public exhibitionism" and "offences against public morality" are sometimes used to discriminate against LGBT. In May 2008, upon an appeal by the Istanbul Governorate, an Istanbul court decided to close down Lambda Istanbul, as its statute was considered against general morality. An appeal has been lodged before the Council of State in this case.

Homosexuals have the right to exemption from military service. If they request such exemption, their sexual orientation is verified by means of degrading medical and psychological tests or by demanding proof of homosexuality.

Transsexuals are occasionally subjected to physical assaults, including by the police. Homophobia has also resulted in cases of physical and sexual violence. These allegations require prompt and effective investigation.

PAGE 71:
Anti-discrimination is enshrined in the constitution and upheld in several laws. However, there is no specific protection on grounds of sexual orientation in Turkish law and provisions of the Turkish Criminal Code on "public exhibitionism" and "offences against public morality" are sometimes used to discriminate against the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transvestite and transgender (LGBTT) community. In May 2008, an Istanbul court decided to close down an LGBTT organization, as its statute was considered against general morality. An appeal has been lodged before the Council of State in this case. Transsexuals and transvestites are occasionally subjected to physical assaults, including by the police. Homophobia has also resulted in cases of physical and sexual violence. These allegations are not systematically followed up by prompt and effective investigation.
Tags: human rights
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