19/04/2021 | Writer: Yıldız Tar

The Ministry of Trade responded to Kaos GL's information inquiry. The reply clearly states that "although the ads include the phrase 'lgbt', the products were released for sale without any warning." The statement of the Advertisement Board member TTB (Turkish Medical Association) contradicts the response of the Ministry.

The Ministry of Trade’s censorship and discrimination against LGBTI+’s is confirmed once more Kaos GL - News Portal for LGBTI+

On November 11, 2020, the Ministry of Trade's Advertisement Board decided to impose an 18+ warning on "LGBT and rainbow-themed products" on e-commerce sites. The ministry suspended the advertisement of products with "LGBT," "Love is Love," "Pride," "Peace," "LGBT Power," "Equality," "Bisexual", "Freedom", "Lesbian", "Gay" prints, and rainbow-themed products. The products that have been subjected to this are beach towels, mugs, T-shirts and phone cases.

The board justified this discriminatory practice by stating that "the reviewed products and promotions are pushed to the market without the "18+" age warning, while having negative effects on the mental, moral, psychological and social development of children and young people, and have disruptive and transformative effects on cultural and moral social behaviors."

Representatives from the Ministry of Health, Ministry of Justice, Turkish Medical Association, Turkish Bar Association, Turkish Dental Association, Turkish Pharmacists Association and Higher Education Council have seats on the Ministry's Advertisement Board.

The ministry also issued a reply to the information inquiry of Kaos GL, submitted on December 15, 2020. At the request of Kaos GL, the ministry issued a response. The response of the ministry says that the abbreviation "LGBT" taking place in the ads requires the 18+ warning. The response of the ministry once again confirmed the censorship against LGBTI+s. The relevant part of the response is as follows:

"Products intended for the use of all sexual orientations, involving sexuality and eroticism in their advertisements, should be introduced to the market with the "18+" warning label in order to protect children, but despite the including the abbreviation "lgbt" in these advertisements, they were offered for sale without any warning, thus negatively affecting the mental, moral, psychological and social development of children and young people, and disrupting cultural and moral social behaviors..."

Censored products: “LGBT and rainbow-themed” beach towels, mugs, T-shirts, phone cases

The Advertisement Board states that the products censored include:

"Beach towel products on the e-commerce site www.trendyol.com are found to be exhibiting phrases such as "Peace, Love is Love, Pride, LGBT", along with themes of LGBT and rainbows."

"T-shirts and sweatshirts on e-commerce site www.trendyol.com and www.gittigidiyor.com are found to be exhibiting phrases  "Normal", "LGBT" along with LGBT and rainbow themes."

"Cup products on e-commerce sites www.trendyol.com and www.gittigidiyor.com " has been found to be exhibiting phrases such as "LGBT Power", "Equality, Bisexual, Freedom, Lesbian, Gay, Love is Love, Homosexual, LGBT Relationship" along with LGBT and rainbow themes."

"Phone case products on e-commerce sites www.trendyol.com, www.ciceksepeti.com and www.gittigidiyor.com addresses are found to be exhibiting  phrases such as " LGBT", "Love is Love," "Pride" along with LGBT and rainbow themes."

Discrimination was once again exposed in the response to Kaboğlu's parliamentary question

Republican People's Party (CHP) Istanbul MP İbrahim Kaboğlu met with SPoD LGBTI+ and asked the Advertisement Ministry about this practice. Kaboğlu stated that the newly imposed obligation to label "LGBT and rainbow-themed products" with an 18+ warning is discriminatory and violates the fundamental rights and freedoms of LGBTI+’s.

Kaboğlu both asked for the reasoned version of the decision and underlined the hate speech against LGBT's. The ministry responded to Kaboğlu's question. The Ministry of Trade said that they received 23 applications through CİMER(Presidential Hotline), so they met with all the board members and made this decision. The ministry also said its decisions were "directed at all sexual orientations involving sexuality and eroticism, not just LGBTI+ individuals." In its response to the question, the ministry also said that "the "rainbow" image alone is not mentioned as the subject of any violation of legal regulations or practice". The ministry did not mention how the 18+ decision was taken in its response, although there was no violation of legal regulations.

In its response to Kabogğlu's question, the Ministry of Trade once again stressed that the decision was unanimous. The ministry also listed the board members, saying that "members express opinions and use votes according to their personal opinions and subjective evaluations, but according to the requirements of the specialization areas of the institutions they represent and the legislation they are implementing." The ministry also said that the decision was "not taken in advance or with haste", adding that it came to their agenda on October 13, 2020, that they thoroughly examined it before making a decision, that they investigated its legal and wellbeing aspects and made the decision at their meeting on November 10, 2020.

The reasoned decision shared in the response to Kaboğlu's parliamentary question is the same as the one sent in response to Kaos GL's information inquiry application.

Advertisement Board Member Turkish Medical Association (TTB)'s statement contradicts the Ministry's response

Representatives from the Ministry of Health, Ministry of Justice, Turkish Medical Association, Turkish Bar Association, Turkish Dental Association, Turkish Pharmacists Association, and Higher Education Council have seats on the Ministry's Advertisement Board.

These decisions were unanimous, the Ministry of Trade said in a press release announcing the decisions. According to the ministry, the Turkish Medical Association, the Turkish Bar Association, the Turkish Dental Association and the Turkish Pharmacists' Association have also signed the decision.

TTB issued a statement on March 30th following the criticisms. TTB said in its statement that it is trying to ensure that no discrimination is allowed by using the term "for all sexual orientations", that "18+" warning is evaluated according to the presence and absence of sexuality and eroticism, and that it is not possible to evaluate this issue on any kind of discrimination."

"In line with the decision taken, it is clear that there is no problem with the advertising and promotion of sexuality and eroticism-free ones of these products, and that it is not necessary to label these products with "18+" warnings. It is regrettable that the decision was interpreted as a ban on the use of rainbows and is incompatible with our union's approach" said TTB, but both responses to Kaboğlu's parliamentary question and Kaos GL's information inquiry application were saying "despite the including the abbreviation "lgbt" in these advertisements, they were offered for sale without any warning".

Translation: Yiğit E. Korkmaz


Tags: human rights
Bayram