May 27, 2016

Report Released Turkey’s Human Rights Violations on the LGBT Community

DHA photo
DHA photo
The Kaos Gay and Lesbian Cultural Research and Solidarity Association (Kaos GL) has published an annual report monitoring human rights violations based on sexual orientation and gender identity, calling on the Turkish state to adopt anti-discriminatory measures to prevent hate crimes against LGBT individuals that remain largely unreported by media and security authorities. 

Noting that the findings of the report were based on crimes that were only reported in local media, Kaos GL announced that five hate murders, 32 hate attacks, two cyber-attacks and three suicide cases were reflected in the press in 2015.

Fifteen of the hate attacks were committed by more than one person while there was alleged police involvement in two of the attacks. Twelve were committed with sharp objects, two involved the use of firearms and one featured arson.

The report criticized discriminatory rhetoric and practices adopted by politicians and state institutions, calling on the Turkish Republic to implement the necessary regulations to fulfill its international responsibilities on human rights.

Accordingly, four of the nine cases of hate speech that were reported in the media were uttered by political figures, namely, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, then-Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu, then-Deputy PM Yalçın Akdoğan and Interior Minister Efkan Ala.

In their remarks, the aforementioned politicians targeted an LGBT deputy candidate from the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), Barış Sulu, and slammed the same party’s political promises on LGBT rights and the legalization of gay marriages.

The report also slammed a crackdown by Istanbul police on the LGBT Pride Parade in June 2015 with tear gas and water cannon, saying it transformed the hatred against LGBTs into a “call for massacre,” as politicians also added fuel to the flames.

The violent crackdown was preceded by an Islamist group called the “Young Islamic Defense” which pinned posters to walls and lamp posts in Ankara, threatening gays with death.

“Should those who engage in ugly behavior and adhere to the practice of the people of Lot be killed?” read posters that appeared in the Turkish capital overnight, referring to Lot, who features in the Old Testament and the Quran. Many Muslims believe that the decline of the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah stemmed from the sexual preferences of their inhabitants.

Kaos GL concluded the report by listing its legal demands, including the implementation of constitutional guarantees against hate crimes, the launch of an efficient campaign against the use of hate speech by politicians, the clarification of “infamous crimes” to strictly inhibit its anti-LGBT interpretation and an end to the Turkish Armed Forces’ categorization of prospective LGBT soldiers as people with a “gender identity disorder.”

The association also urged the introduction of training schemes prepared in collaboration with civil society organizations to ensure that members of the security forces do not resort to homophobic, transphobic and discriminatory practices.

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