20/01/2021 | Writer: Yıldız Tar
The Ministry of Justice gave permission for the investigation against the executives of Ankara and Istanbul Bar Association after their criticisms on Diyanet's (Religious Affairs Administration of Turkey) discriminatory khutbah against LGBTI+'s and those living with HIV.
While the world and Turkey were struggling with Covid 19 epidemic; the head of the Religious Affairs Administration targeted LGBTI+'s and those living with HIV in its Friday khutbah on April 24, 2020. Head of Religious Affairs Ali Erbaş made discriminative statements in his khutbah titled "Ramadan: Patience and Willpower Training".
This hate khutbah of Diyanet was on the first day of Ramadan. Diyanet, which targeted LGBTI+'s after Pride Week in 2019, said the following this time:
“People! Islam accepts adultery as one of the greatest harams. It curses the people of Lot, the homosexuality. What is the wisdom of this? The wisdom here is that it brings diseases and degenerates the generation. Hundreds of thousands of people a year are exposed to the HIV virus caused by this great haram, which passes as adultery in the Islamic Literature. Let's come and fight together to protect people from this kind of evil."
Erbaş also blamed homosexuals for the coronavirus outbreak.
Ankara Bar Association and Istanbul Bar Association were also among the institutions condemning discrimination. The Ministry of Justice gave permission for the investigation of the two bar associations advocating human rights against discrimination.
Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor's Office started an investigation following the criminal complaint of the Religious Affairs Administration against the members of the Ankara Bar Association. Within the scope of the investigation, 11 executives of the Ankara Bar Association were requested of their written defenses. The administration of the bar association sent the joint defense to the prosecutor's office. The prosecutor's office sent the case to the Ministry of Justice for investigation permit after the written statements were submitted. After the investigation, the Ministry gave the prosecutor permission to investigate the members of the Ankara Bar Association's executive board due to their association's statement.
Following the permission of the investigation, the prosecutor's office will summon 11 Bar Association executives, including Ankara Bar Association President Attorney Erinç Sağkan, for their official statements. After the statements are taken, it will be decided whether a lawsuit will be filed or not.
The Ministry of Justice also gave investigations against the President and the Secretary-General of the Istanbul Bar Association and the President, and Vice President and Secretary-General of the Istanbul Bar Association Human Rights Center. For investigation permission; the ministry cited the statement of the Human Rights Center of the Istanbul Bar Association that said Ali Erbaş violated his title of being a public official and his obligation to behave equally with the Friday Khutbah of the Diyanet.
The Criminal Complaint against Religious Affairs Administration remains inconclusive
The Ankara Branch of the Human Rights Association (İHD) filed a criminal complaint against the Head of Religious Affairs, Ali Erbaş, following the hate khutbah. İHD Ankara said,"To prevent hate crimes, discrimination, gender inequality is the duty of the state. We are filing criminal charges against Ali Erbaş, the Head of Religious Affairs Administration, who has clearly committed crimes, and we call on all the related institutions to do their duty to initiate an investigation while removing him from his post as Head of Religious Affairs Administration."
Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor's Office decided that there is no room for an investigation, after examination of the complaint. The Office of the Chief Prosecutor ruled that “no need for further investigation due to the fact that subject of the complaint does not constitute a crime is understood clearly without a need for further investigation, and the complaint is of an abstract and general nature”.
Translation: Yiğit E. Korkmaz
Tags: human rights