03/02/2020 | Writer: Yıldız Tar
During the UPR process, Turkey denied the systematic LGBTI+ events and demonstration bans. Representatives claimed that there is no systematic ban in the country.
Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs of Turkey replied the recommendations and criticisms of 16 countries at United Nations Universal Periodic Review.
The government ignored the bans they have imposed
Although there has been a ban on LGBTI+ events in Ankara for more than two years; consecutive bans on Istanbul Pride March since 2015; bans declared last year on Mersin, Izmir and Antalya Pride Marches and ban on Queer Olympix sports event, Deputy Minister Faruk Kaymakçı claimed that LGBTI+s have freedom of assembly and peaceful demonstration rights in Turkey.
Kaymakçı said: “Regarding the freedom of assembly, LGBTI+s organized 97 events in 2017. 20 thousand people attended those events. 119 people were detained due to violence. There is no systematic ban.”
The Deputy Minister forgot about the ban of Bakırköy too!
Deputy Minister, continued while ignoring the fact that, even the application for the LGBTI+ Pride March at Bakırköy, which is one of the governorate’s designated demonstration fields: "Galatasaray Square is a touristic zone, therefore demonstrations of Saturday Mothers and the LGBT community cannot be allowed."
Claim: The phrase “any such grounds” includes sexual orientation and gender identity
Kaymakçı defended LGBTI+ exclusive legislation with these words: "10th Article of our Constitution says 'Everyone is equal before the law without distinction as to language, race, color, sex, political opinion, philosophical belief, religion, and sect, or any such grounds.' The phrase 'any such grounds' here covers sexual orientation and gender identity. Therefore, sexual orientation and gender identity do not need to be included in other laws."
On the other hand, the UN, EC, EU and many human rights organizations underline the importance and necessity of explicit inclusion of sexual orientation, gender identity and gender characteristics in the constitution and laws for the use of human rights.
Isn't LGBTI+ organizations stakeholders?
The government also claimed that the state report was discussed with "all stakeholders" in the preparation and Human Rights Action Plan process, but no communication was established with LGBTI+ organizations in these processes.
The government has been fighting hate crimes!
Kaymakçı said that the legislation regarding hate crimes was developed in 2014 and "since then they have been fighting hate crimes." On the other hand, according to the criteria of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), there is no primary legislation or secondary legislation regarding hate crimes in Turkey. The legislation implied by the Deputy Minister does not include statements of sexual orientation and gender identity.
On the other hand, the 2018 Homophobia and Transphobia-Based Hate Crimes Report in Turkey, prepared by the Kaos GL Association according to OSCE criteria, shows that people who were attacked because of their sexual orientation or gender identity are exposed to this kind of crimes for almost all of their lives and in every aspect of their lives, including their own homes. The attacks, as often as in hate crimes against other social groups, do not take place in a relatively predictable way, are not limited to the moment of attack, and then continue in different forms. At first, victims are harassed and abused, even if there are many people witness the attacks more than half of them do not react or intervene.
The heart of hatred: TİHEK
Although the Deputy Minister claims to be actively fighting discrimination and hate crimes, the legislation of the Turkish Human Rights and Equality Institution (TİHEK), which is tasked with combating discrimination, does not include expressions of sexual orientation and gender identity. There is no "any such grounds" among protected categories. Applications of LGBTI+s are being rejected. TİHEK officials are systematically making statements against LGBTI+'s. The Ombudsman, which is responsible for the fight against discrimination, is also spreading hate speech.
Translation: Damla Umut Uzun & Yiğit E. Korkmaz
Tags: human rights