22/04/2005 | Writer: KAOS GL

An organisation that aims to protect the LGBT rights of the Turkish gay community has appealed to Members of the European Parliament (MEPs), in a bid to improve their status in the country before talks are held about it joining the EU.

Kaos GL has written a letter to key MEPs asking them to fight for their cause during the accession talks, due to take place later this year.

They say before Turkey can be considered, it must update its existing laws so as to not discriminate against sexual minorities.

Although homosexuality is not officially illegal, Kaos GL claims abuses and discrimination take place without punishment and that there is no specific legal protection for lesbian and gay people.

Additionally, the group is calling for clarification of obscenity laws that could be used against gay people, as well as the removal of punishment for consensual sex between people of 15-18 years of age.

It says that although the Turkish government has listened to the group's advice, so far it has failed to reach out directly to LGBT people.

"We are deeply concerned that the Turkish Justice Commission and the Turkish Parliament have refused to respond to the petitions for equality by the LGBT community in order to address discrimination and oppression," the group writes in its letter.

"Turkish government officials claim that the penal code legislation was drafted to increase rights and freedoms and bring the Turkish justice system in line with European Union standards," it adds.

"But we don
Tags: human rights