06/06/2023 | Writer: Kerem Selçuk

Anti- LGBTI+ rhetoric became the pillar of the government’s election campaigns, to which the opposition turned a blind eye.

Rights violations against LGBTI+ persons in May: We are not LGBTer but equal citizens! Kaos GL - News Portal for LGBTI+

Although the election rounds in Turkey are now over, May 2023 left a striking mark in the history of the country given the hate speech against the LGBTI+. So much so that the members of the People's Alliance, having gotten into gear in their election campaigns in May, re-voiced hate speech in every rally, in every city and in every place, bringing hatred to the fore.

Not getting enough of their hate speech, the politicians made the LGBTI+ opposition their election campaign promise. In his speech on TRT, Fatih Erbakan, Chairman of the Welfare Party, said that they would shut down LGBTI+ associations and impose a propaganda ban, disregarding the constitutional protection of association and assembly. In addition, the Welfare Party spread their word on the issue through a video they published.

While the opposition disclosed the sexual orientation of people that are known to be supporters of the government in the videos they published, the act itself was a violation of privacy. In addition, some so-called experts made statements that would step up attacks on the existence of the LGBTI+ community in the country. A training on gender identity held by IHH (Humanitarian Relief Foundation) in Kütahya, for instance, dealt with the issue in such a way that LGBTI+ individuals were criminalized.

In a nutshell, May was marked by unscientific trainings organized in a way that would endanger the future and the right to life of LGBTI+ youth, the unlawful disclosure of people’s sexual orientation, the baseless arguments of so-called experts about LGBTI+ existence, incitement of hatred, campaign promises to shut down LGBTI+ associations and a video that will isolate and criminalize the whole LGBTI+ community.

In early May, the Minister of the Interior had ordered a hair care product ad that said “as natural as girls hanging out”2 be removed.

Although the Disinformation Bulletin of May 13 stated that the issue of LGBTI+ was not covered in the Friday Sermon on May 12, it was seen that the sermon ignored LGBTI+ existences. The distribution of fake brochures about Kılıçdaroğlu was when disinformation reached its peak.

As for the court hearings, they keep getting postponed:

·      The former administration of the Ankara Bar Association was acquitted in the trial in which they were tried because of the statements they made against Ali Erbaş's sermon.

·      The Eryaman-Esat trial has been postponed to  July 5 .

·      The Ajda Ender trial to September 29.

·      The Tarlabaşı Community Center to October 5.

·      The Hande Buse Şeker trial to July 19.

·      The Ankara Pride Parade trial to June 22.

·      The 9th Bosphorous Pride Parade trial to November 2.

“We do not hold back, we do not give up on disseminating truthful information, fighting for our lives and rights.”

Eleven candidates who signed the LGBTI+ contract were elected as MPs. One MP from CHP, three from TİP and seven from the Green Left Party will defend LGBTI+ rights in the parliament. An LGBTI+ rights commission was established in Adana Bar Association. LGBTI+ associations also emphasized that their struggle against hate speech will continue in the new period.

While Kaos GL and May 17 associations said, “Once we have come out, we will never close again”, SPoD said “3Spring will definitely come with us”. On the other hand, Pink Life said, “We do not hold back, we do not give up on disseminating truthful information, fighting for our lives and our rights.” Lambda Istanbul said, "They will go, we will stay." 

1 In Erdoğan’s anti-LGBTI+ rhetoric, LGBTer is a term coined by him to depict LGBTI+ as a criminal organization. In Turkey, it’s a common strategy to use suffixes -er, -or, -or to depict a group of people as criminals or even as terrorists.

2 The verb “hang out” has sexual connotations in Turkish, so the implied meaning of the ad was “as natural as girl-on-girl action.”

3 “Spring will come” was the slogan of the opposition leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu in his presidential election campaigns. The slogan comes from a very popular Turkish pop song that says “I promise you! Spring will come again”.

Tags: human rights