Author: Mehmet Atif Ergun

Istanbul Pride Week 2018 Event Schedule

Table of Contents


24th Istanbul LGBTI+ Pride Week Event Schedule

(Did you know that Istanbul LGBTI Pride Week has accounts on Facebook and Twitter?)

Please check back for news events as well as possible time and venue updates here and on Istanbul Pride’s official website.

We Unite

Table of Contents

Monday, June 20

Workshop: Self-defense against homo-transphobic assaults

  • Time: 14:00-16:00
  • Place: Infial

As LGBTI+ individuals, we must be on constant alert against the
mechanisms and means of social violence we encounter at any moment in
our social and individual lives and we must develop our self-defense.
Self-defense requires mental and physical practical effort to swiftly
and effectively fight the oppressive apparatus that directs its violence
to us. First, at an individual level, we must empower ourselves by
discovering and working on techniques that enable us to stand tall in
the face of assaults and to thwart them. Then we can generalize/broaden
our self-defense by sharing our strength, experience and skills with
others around us.

Panel: Conscientious Objection as an Act of Protest

  • Time: 15:00-17:00
  • Place: Cezayir Toplantı Salonu (Cezayir Meeting Room)

Moderator: İrem Az


Ercan Jan Aktaş: “Rejecting being men in a society that does not
consider those who do not serve in the military men”

Men’s conscientious objection demands challenge not only the political
and ideological strategies of nation-states forcing them to use violence
but also the masculine violence pervasive in male dominant domains such
as the Market and the Family. Compulsory military service is not only
about “national defense” but it is also a practice that regulates the
terms of citizenship between men, women and the state. First class
citizenship is bestowed on men through military service, “the most
sacred duty”.

Gökhan Soysal: “Legal Aspects of Conscientious Objection”

Conscientious objection is a human right placed under protection by
international human rights organizations and regarded in the context of
anti-war moral values, religious liberty and freedom of conscience. Both
the agreements undersigned by the Turkish State and particularly, the
decisions of the European Human Rights Court are binding. No matter how
reluctant the state is to recognize this right, it is also evident that
it is unable to fully resort to its repressive apparatus unlike in the
past. This situation will be assessed in the paper.

Emre Özyetiş: “Pink Conscientious Objection”

The LGBTI movement has a special position within Turkey’s opposition
networks in terms of the autonomous space for oppositional struggle it
has opened up. On the other hand, the increasing violence of clashes and
war, especially since the 7 June 2015 elections, necessitates the need
to review the gains we assume to have made in the experience of social
opposition and struggle. The discourse of the ruling party that is
becoming widespread as Turkey gets pulled into a period of war is
militarizing society in a speed we could not imagine and has nearly made
the struggle against this imposed oppressive and authoritative structure
non-functional. Within this context, what does it mean for LGBTI
individuals whose relationship with the military is seen via the “pink
discharge paper” to fight against the tools of domination by the
existing sovereign structure and war?

Workshop: Debating Sexual Violence in Lubunca

  • Time: 17:00-19:00
  • Place: Feminist Mekan

Those who resist the trauma experienced in the wake of sexual violence,
those who have been subject to sexual violence, those who have witnessed
a form of sexual violence…We need a language that we can all use and
that can empower us. Do LGBTI+ individuals use concepts of sexual
violence in Lubunca (queer dialect/argot used in Turkey)? Does our sex
positive language allow us to express ourselves when we have been
subjected to sexual violence? We do not know how to address people who
have been subjected to sexual violence and have resisted it? These
questions have created the need to debate sexual violence at a
conceptual level. Let’s talk!

Association to Combat Sexual Violence

1.1.4 Film Screening: “Mutantes: Punk Porn Feminism”

  • Time: 17:00-19:00
  • Place: Cezayir Toplantı Salonu (Cezayir Meeting Room)

Documentary – 2009 – France 85′ Director: Virginie Despentes

Mutantes: Punk Porn Feminism is the culmination of meetings with queer
academics, theorists, and activists in the United States, France, and
Spain as well as the archival documents of the sex worker “women”
movement and a new kind of political performance acts. The documentary
draws the lines of a feminism that demands “complete sexual freedom”
born out of the “pro-sex” feminist movement in the 80s in America.

Panel: University LGBTI+ Meeting and Cocktail

  • Time: 19:00-21:00
  • Place: Cezayir Toplantı Salonu (Cezayir Meeting Room)

Presentation: Görkem Ulumeriç

Istanbul LGBTI+ Pride Week, LGBTI+ student clubs are proud to invite
LGBTI+ students to a presentation about gender-neutral bathrooms,
dormitories and dressing rooms, peer bullying, safe spaces and campus
activism. The presentation will be followed by a cocktail. Participation
is limited to university students. Please register at
[email protected]


  • Time: 20:00
  • Place: Piri Çavuş Sokak, Kadıköy (Piri Çavuş Street, Kadıköy)

We who have a problem with heteronormativity are meeting in Kadikoy on
Monday evening. We are meeting in defiance of those who want to imprison
us in our homes, the dominators who think they own the streets as well
as life, those who say “do it, but do it at home out of sight”, and to
many others. We are dancing and having fun, not afraid of being alone,
not anxious, but feeling empowered!

Workshop: “Concepts of Intimacy and Sincerity” in the Context

of “Queer Body” Studies (I)

  • Time: 20:00-22:30
  • Place: Çatı Dans

Facilitator: Ufuk Şenel

This workshop, scheduled for approximately three hours a day on two
days, is an exploration focusing on the body through the concepts of
intimacy and sincerity. What does queerness provide to us as we relate
to each other, to the world and to others? How do our feelings of
intimacy and sincerity get constructed/ deconstructed within a queer
life? These are some of the questions we will pursue in this workshop
where the goal is to begin from improvised practices and to help
participants gain a new perspective and dynamic on how they relate to
their own world, selves, the world and others.

Tuesday, June 21

Workshop: Consensus as a Form of Organizing and

Decision-Making Process Among Equals

  • Time: 15:00-18:00
  • Place: SALT Galata

In meetings among equals decisions are made with the shared
responsibility of all participants, therefore it is important how
decisions are made and implemented and that all participate equally in
the decision-making process for groups engaged in rights struggles. As a
form of decision-making, the consensus decision-making model aims at the
equal participation of all participants, the equal distribution of power
within the group, the productive and optimal use of time and other
resources. In this Pride Week, we would like to explore CONSENSUS as a
model that enables more productive meetings and decisions on the context
of our theme “We Unite”.

Note: The workshop is open to all, whether they are activists or not.
The workshop will last at least 3 hours (Center of Nonviolence)

Workshop: Mask Workshop (I), Mask & March

  • Time: 17:00
  • Place: TAK

We are inviting all to our workshop to paint in colors not only the
streets and the squares, but also our bodies, and to make masks which we
will wear not in order to hide ourselves, but to be visible and to use
our freedom of expression.

Materials provided: Cardboard, paper, textile materials, scrap
materials, acrylic paint and coloring materials, glue.

Participants can bring their own additional scrap materials, visual
materials and prints for collage techniques. The activity will last 12
hours over two days.

Facilitator: Oğuz Güdek

Note: Participation is limited to 30 people. Please register at
[email protected]

Panel: Why the LGBTI+ Peace Initiative

  • Time: 17:00-19:00
  • Place: Cezayir Toplantı Salonu (Cezayir Meeting Room)

The basis of Life: Oxygen and Peace!

The critical importance of peace is more evident in these days we are
going through. We have gathered together as organized and unorganized
LGBTI+ activists to shout out this need everywhere. We want to discuss
together why we exist and the path we have traveled in this process and
what more we can do. We will be stronger if you join us.

Moderator: Esra Ferit

Speakers: İrem Güven, Zelal Demir, Cihan Erdal

Workshop: The Queer’s Nightlife Test

  • Time: 17:00-19:00
  • Place: LeylaAlt

When did the şemmamme (folk dance) enter our nightlife and party
entertainment? Why do we love to dance the halay (folkloric line dance)
so much? How are queers lying on the ground singing “Only God and I
know” made to belly dance? Our musical tastes from Tiësto to Bergen?
What did we like about our favorite party? The music? The space? Or else
the opportunity to find a hook up? What does the LGBT-friendly concept
express for us? Are we using the spaces or are they using us?
Nots and Şevval discuss LGBTI+ entertainment life.

Workshop: Pink Tezkere

  • Time: 18:30-20:30
  • Place: SALT Galata

Those who are deemed men are called by the authorities to do compulsory
military service in Turkey when the time comes. Yet it is our right not
to fulfill this service! There is a legal procedure for pink tezkere
(military discharge paper)! Can I get a pink discharge paper? What
procedure should I follow to acquire pink discharge paper? What aspects
should I pay attention to in the process? How does a pink discharge
paper affect my social and work life? Come join our workshop to
collectively reflect on these questions!

Reader’s Theater: OGRES

  • Time: 19:15
  • Place: Fransız Kültür Merkezi (French Cultural Center)

Author: Yann Verburgh

Director: biriken (Melis Tezkan, Okan Urun)

As part of Pride Week, “biriken” Collective is performing Yann
Verburgh’s Ogres as a reader’s theater at the French Cultural Center.
The play traces the story of Benjamin who is tortured in a forest in
Normandy and left to die while simultaneously juxtaposing the
perspectives of victims, attackers, families and witnesses of
intolerable violence in 14 different countries. The only thing that
cannot be buried and destroyed under the bodies of the wounded in the
midst of violence, torture, incoherence are the love, hope and courage
of these characters across the world. The performance will be followed
by a conversation with the play’s author Yann Verburgh.

Actors: Alican Yücesoy, Canan Atalay, Defne Halman, Halil Babür, Okan

Pre-registration is required for events at the French Cultural Center.
To register, visit:

Workshop: The role and responsibility of mental health care

workers in social interaction in the aftermath of the removal of
homosexuality from the category of disease

  • Time: 19:30-21:00
  • Place: Cezayir Toplantı Salonu (Cezayir Meeting Room)

Homosexuality was removed from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of
Mental Disorders in 1973 and from the disease criteria of the World
Health Organization on May 17, 1990. The confusion persists, however, in
the case of transsexuality. Despite the fact that the discourse of cure
was gradually abandoned from late 1960s onwards, and homosexuality is
officially no longer a disease since 1973, transsexuality continues to
be associated with disease, sin and crime in social perception and life.
Today the struggle continues against the intense discrimination, hate
speech and hate crimes targeting LGBTI+ people. Most importantly,
although without an official basis, some mental health workers are
seeking to exploit the cure discourse for profit. Therefore during this
Pride Week, we would like to explore how we can intervene as mental
health care students and workers not only in society but also
specifically in the field of mental health and our responsibilities.

Moderators: Evren Evrim Önal, Özge Güdül

Speakers: Eser Sandıkçı, Pınar Önen, Seven Kaptan, Umut Şah

Workshop: “Concepts of Intimacy and Sincerity” in the context


  • Time: 20:00-22:30
  • Place: Çatı (The Roof)

Workshop: Finding Hook-ups

  • Time: 21:00-22:00
  • Place: Will be announced via email

The activity which we first organized last year is back this year due to
koli (hook-up, casual sexual partner in Lubunca) intensity. More daring,
more closed and more with koli.
We texted “SLM” (“Hey”) through the app we use to find a partner we
like. Okay, what next? How to prepare until they arrive? Where to go for
coffee? How to invite them home? All and more will be found in this
practical workshop. Participation is limited, please register at
[email protected] if you wish to participate. Location will be
announced via email to participants.

Wednesday, June 22

Workshop: Physical Deepening: What Kind of Geography Is My


  • Time: 15:00-17:00
  • Place: SALT Galata

Workshop Leader: Gizem Aksu

This workshop invites participants on a tour of their own body geography
with the question “What kind of geography is my body?” If this geography
is not expected to be free from prejudice and self-judgment, could it be
possible to witness that which emerges from each layer that begin to
appear with deep listening and sensing, and escape from meaning to reach
the moment? It is a discovery extending from the daily repertoire of
feelings to the traces of aging flesh…You are invited to dive into the
abundance of body geography, in which all of life’s states are handled,
and the unique and authentic geography of every body.

Panel: Vegan Action- Justice for Animals

  • Time: 16:00 – 18:00
  • Place: Cezayir Toplantı Salonu (Cezayir Meeting Room)

Speakers: Özlem Dede, Arvid Bager

As Vegan Action, we want to explain speciesism during the 24th LGBTI+
Pride Week. Hegemonic relationships are not just among humans but also
among species. How aware are we of the rights of animals in our
human-centered lives? We defend the rights of LGBTI+, women, and people
with disabilities. We defend air rights and water rights. Who should be
defending the rights of other living beings? We want justice for all.

Workshop: Mask Workshop (II)

  • Time: 17:00
  • Place: TAK

Panel: Trans Transition Process

  • Time: 17:00 – 19:00
  • Place: SALT Galata

Moderator: Asım Ada

Speakers: Esmeray, Berk, Sinem Hun

We listen to the steps of the trans transition process, the difficulties
of the procedures in the transition, the legal aspects of the medical
process, use of hormones, and surgeries from two different voices.

Panel: Sex Work

  • Time: 18:30-21:00
  • Place: Cezayir Toplantı Salonu (Cezayir Meeting Room)

Sex work is one of those topics about which very little is known in
Turkey. Nevertheless everyone apart from sex workers make arguments
about it. A collaboration between Istanbul LGBTI+ Pride Week and Red
Umbrella Sexual Health and Human Rights Association opens to discussion
the general rights situation, experiences, and needs of sex workers in
Turkey. We invite everyone to solidarity with sex workers. Come, let’s
talk about our problems together.

Moderator: Begüm Başdaş, Amnesty International Turkey Branch


  • Kemal Ördek, “The Struggle for Rights from Prostitution to Sex Work
    and the Current Situation”
  • Dr. Gökhan Yıldırımkaya, “The Sexual and Reproductive Health Status
    of Sex Workers”
  • Özge Gökpınar, “Representation of Sex Workers in the Media”
  • Derya Karagöz, “Violence Against Trans Women Sex Workers:
  • Niler Albayrak, “Informal Sex Work and Experiences in Entering the
  • Sevgi, “Life in a Brothel Through the Eyes of a Brothel Worker”
  • Mehmet, “Brothels and Needs Through the Eyes of a Brothel Boss”
  • Alper Rheme, “Being a male sex worker: questions and recommendations”
  • Yağmur Arıcan, “Discussions of Sex Work Politics”

Film Screening: Veşartî/Secret*

  • Time: 19:00
  • Place: Pera Müzesi Oditoryumu (Pera Museum Auditorium)

Turkey – 2015 – 70′ Director: Ali Kemal Çınar

One day a woman (Aram) tells Ali Kemal that Ali Kemal will turn into a
woman at the age of 30 and walks away. Ali Kemal is about to turn 30 and
will get married soon after. As Ali Kemal tries to adapt to the idea of
transformation, the protagonist also tries to find ways to continue the
relationship with Berfin.
There will be a Q & A after the screening.

Launch: Refugee LGBTI+ Book Launch + Cocktail

  • Time:19:00-21:00
  • Place: Nazım Hikmet Kültür ve Sanat Evi (Nazım Hikmet Culture and
    Arts House)

Hêvî LGBTI Association has prepared Refugee LGBTI+ as a result of their
work and interviews with LGBTI+ refugees to show rights violations and
put public pressure. The book includes interviews with refugees who
define themselves as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transsexual or Transgender
as well as recommendations by experts, legal background, and articles to
expose problems. We will find the chance the get together at the launch
of Refugee LGBTI+ and get to know and evaluate this new book.

Workshop: Food Not Bombs Istanbul: The Tyranny of Love II

  • Time: 19:00-21:00
  • Place: İnfial

Following a first forum during Pride Week 2015, this year’s second
workshop will focus on jealousy and possessiveness, which are among the
forms of tyranny; as an alternative to monogamous, heteronormative
relationship forms, communal living, polyamory, and open relationships
will find a voice. The “Turkish family structure” is holding the state
up, let’s not shy away from shaking it up.

Performance + Party: Play Night

  • Time: 21:00
  • Place: To be announced via email

We are inviting those interested in queer BDSM to a night of interactive
games and performances that will change our perception towards sexuality
and the body, and open the doors to a world outside the norm. Don your
fetishes and don’t hold back from coming. Attendance is limited to 20
people; those who do not register will not be admitted. For registration
email [email protected].

Thursday, June 23

Panel: Homophobia in Sports and Physical Education Classes

  • Time: 14:00-16:00
  • Place: SALT Galata

Have the LGBTI+ individuals who have come out in many branches of sports
in recent times helped defeat homophobia, transphobia, and sexism in
sports? What kind of sexual orientation-based discrimination is there in
physical education classes? Where are the intersections of the
discrimination we encounter in sports and at school? Starting with a
discussion of the discrimination experienced in sports, in which we seek
answers to all our questions and will exchange information about, we
would like to talk about the discrimination faced by gay and trans
students in physical education classes and discuss solutions together.
(High School LGBTI+)

Moderator: Emre Demir

Speakers: Dr. İlknur Hacısoftaoğlu (Gedik University), Melisa Yıldırım
(Ankara High School LGBTI), Baran Ucal (Gedik University)

Film Screening: The Pink Report

  • Time: 16:00
  • Place: Pera Müzesi Oditoryumu (Pera Museum Auditorium)

Germany – 2011 – 75′ Director: Ulrike Böhnisch

The Turkish Armed Forces defines homosexuality as a mental disorder that
exempts young men from compulsory military service. It requires
psychological and humiliating methods to medically diagnose. This film
tells the very personal stories of several gay men who chose different
paths regarding the military. The young men are forced to hide their
faces because of the lack in freedom of expression as they reveal one of
Turkey’s biggest taboos due.

Workshop: “That Type” of Feminism

  • Time: 17:00-19:00
  • Place: Cezayir Toplantı Salonu (Cezayir Meeting Room)

Facilitators: Gizem Aslan, Nazlı Cabadağ

The LGBTI+ movements test with feminism; What does the feminist movement
contribute to us, what do we contribute to feminism? Furthermore, what
does our feminism look like? We invite you to our forum to discuss what
this mutual relationship has achieved for us and its promised potential.

Note: Participation is closed to cisgendered men.

Event: Mass HIV Testing Day

  • Time: 18:30
  • Place: Şişli Belediyesi Merkez Poliklinik (Sisli Municipality Central

Sometimes because we’re scared and sometimes because we don’t care
enough, we neglect getting tested. By saying that no one has to be alone
in this process, we’re inviting everyone to get a free, anonymous test
done with us. Let’s meet at 18:00 at the Pangaltı Dolapdere exit of the
Osmanbey Metro Station across from Ramada Hotel.

Genetically Modified Tomato Award Ceremony

  • Time: 19:30-21:30
  • Place: Şişli Kent Kültür Merkezi (Sisli Urban Cultural Center)

The Genetically Modified Tomato Awards, Istanbul Pride Week’s
indispensable event, takes place for the 12th time this year. Candidates
who have competed with each other all year long in homophobia,
transphobia, and biphobia are voted for throughout Pride Week; the
winners are announced at the awards night! Everyone is invited to throw

Friday, June 24

Workshop: Tactics of Making Love without Fear: Safe Sexuality

  • Time: 14:00-16:00
  • Place: Feminist Mekan

Are you sure you put a condom on the right way? Do you know how to share
your toys? How do you have safe oral sex? And did you know that you can
get exposed to infection while practicing personal hygiene? Many things
you know to be right can be wrong!

We will talk about the ways to be sexual without harming our health, in
order to make love men to men, women to women, without fear. We will ask
our questions and discuss with experts from Turkey Family Health and
Planning Foundation, without hesitation.

Panel + Forum: LGBTI+ Refugees: Process, Advent, Solidarity

  • Time: 15:00-17:00
  • Place: Cezayir Toplantı Salonu (Cezayir Meeting Room)

In the year 2016, Turkey has become the country with the most refugees
in the world as it hosts over 3 million refugees from different
countries, especially from Syria. As countries like Turkey, Lebanon and
Jordan are left on their own with a number of refugees that surpass the
size of the country, the European Union, United States and other
developed countries are trying to fortify their boundaries, on the
grounds of security. LGBTI+ refugees experience a double difficulty as
refugees and as LGBTI+s, since their paths are blocked not only by
forced displacement but also by increasing conservatism. In relation to
the theme of this year’s pride week, through experiences in Turkey and
Sweden, we will talk about the legal, social and psychological
dimensions of being LGBTI+ and being a refugee and discuss the
possibilities for our struggle together.

Moderator: Özlem Çolak (Lambdaistanbul)


  • Hayriye Kara (Kaos GL): Legal framework in Turkey regarding the
  • Mehmet Akın (SPoD): Is Turkey a “safe country” for refugees?
  • Cihan Arıkan (RFSL Sweden): What do the refugees experience in the
    countries they were settled in?

Testimonies from Refugees:

  • Hussam Slk and other refugee friends from the Arabic Tea & Talk group
    will talk about their experiences in their countries, in Turkey and
    about their work.
  • Can Kaya and Müzeyyen Arac (Hevi LGBTI): Book Presentation
  • Hevi LGBTI will talk about the book composed of testimonies of LGBTI
    refugees living in Turkey and about how the book came to be.

Conversation: Bear Movement in Turkey, Yesterday, Today and

the Future

  • Time: 15:30-17:30
  • Place: Hevi Lgbti Association

Panel: Being LGBTI+ Under Occupation

  • Time: 17:00-19:00
  • Place: Cezayir Toplantı Salonu (Cezayir Meeting Room)

Being an LGBTI+ individual in geographies under siege and occupation
does not only involve a fight of sexuality and desire against patriarchy
and heteronormativity but also other fights based on race and ethnicity
as used by the state and colonizer. The panel will focus on the
intersection of power and violence and seek to answer these questions:
What does it mean to be LGBTI+ in Kurdistan and Palestine? What does the
LGBTI+ struggle mean in these geographies where violence is experienced
in all of its nakedness?

Moderator: Aslı Zengin


  • Okan (Keskesor): Kurdistan Experience
  • Zerşin (Keskesor): Kurdistan Experience
  • Siyabend (Kadıköy LGBTI Council): Personal Experience in the Nusaybin
  • Joul Elias (Al-Qaws): Palestine Experience

Forum: LGBTI+ Organizations of Turkey Meeting

  • Time: 17:00-19:00
  • Place: SALT Galata

What are the local dynamics of the LGBTI+ movement that keeps growing in
scope and in activity in Turkey? What are the experiences of the
organizations and how do they devise practices of struggle in different
manners? What was the agenda for the LGBTI+ movement in Turkey in 2016?
How is the opposition in the streets going? What are the elements that
make the local “local”? We will look for answers to these and related
questions as we intend to grow our struggle by developing a wider
perspective on the scope of the LGBTI+ movement in Turkey, by creating a
dynamic discussion with the representatives of local organizations. Come
and join this process of making sense and discussing!

Panel: Forming a Psychosocial Solidarity Network for LGBTI+s

  • Time: 18:30-20:30
  • Place: SALT Galata

Facilitators: Aylin Ülkümen, Baran Gürsel, Doğa Eroğlu, Özlem Çolak

TODAP, a professional organization that also supports the social
struggles given against the problems LGBTI+ individuals experience,
seeks ways to multiply safe and accessible mechanisms of psychological

In this session we will take off from the experiences of different
psychosocial support networks and talk with the participants about
whether there is a need for a psychological support network for LGBTI+s,
and if there is, how that network could be formed, how the institutions
in this field could collaborate, what the principles and methods of this
network could be. We hope the resulting ideas will be the first steps
for the formation of a network that will provide support for LGBTI+s.

Forum: We Unite!

  • Time: 19:00-21:00
  • Place: Cezayir Toplantı Salonu (Cezayir Meeting Room)
  • LGBTI+ Pride Week’s theme is “We Unite!”, we will get together as all
    Istanbul-based LGBTI+ associations, LGBTI+ branches of unions and
    political parties, LGBTI+ student clubs and independent activists to
    talk about the situation of organizing together, alternative methods
    of organizing, what we currently do and what we can do in the face of
    the growing difficulties of even going out on the streets as we
    experience these days.

Film Screening: #direnayol

  • Time: 20:00
  • Place: Pera Müzesi Oditoryumu (Pera Museum Auditorium)

Germany- Turkey- 2016- 60′ Director: Rüzgâr Buşki

#direnayol follows trans activist Şevval Kılıç who is infected by the
joy of the Gezi Resistance and the 21st Istanbul LGBTI Pride Week.
#direnayol is a lawless visual and auditory journey to witness the wave
of hope, humor, and solidarity that we now need to remember in the
current day politics of Turkey.

There will be a Q&A after the screening.

Dinner: Rainbow Feast

  • Time: 20:49
  • Place: Maçka Park

Come and bring your iftar meal with you, to prepare a feast where no one
others another, where diversity is our wealth, where property is shared,
to show that we can build a life based on equality-justice and freedom,
no matter what language you speak or which race you are, without saying
heterosexual vs gay, believer vs nonbeliever, embracing all and building
a vegan meal together that does not reproduce the hierarchy between


  • Time: 21:00
  • Place: Depo Taksim

PARTY: Safe Sex

  • Time: 22:00
  • Place: COOP

Pride Week, remembered for its pregame parties, is back with its famous
Friday parties. Don’t forget to ask for your condom!

Saturday, June 25

Panel: Organizing for LGBTI Rights in Politics

  • Time: 12:00 – 14:00
  • Place: Cezayir Toplantı Salonu (Cezayir Meeting Room)

Speakers: Robert Hannah (Member of Parliament in Sweden), Terry Reintke
(Member of the European Parliament), Sedef Çakmak (Member of the
Besiktas Municipal Assembly)

This panel will explore how LGBTIs organize in politics, the language of
politics and how politics transforms itself. The panel will be with
Sedef Çakmak who was elected after SPoD’s “LGBTI-Friendly
Municipalities” campaign during the 2014 Local Elections, Robert Hannah
who has made important gains as a young MP in Sweden, and Terry Reintke
who is among the youngest members of the European Parliament.

1.6.2 Workshop: Hand-made Dildo

  • Time: 13:00
  • Place: Maçka Parkı (Maçka Park)

Facilitator: Deniz Dilan

Wet it, squeeze it, roll it, pucker it, twist it, rub it, embrace it,
paint it! This is an almost ecologic, creative in size and color
dildo-making workshop for you, your lover, your neighbor.

Materials: Toilet paper for the dildo (if it’s not a huge one, 1 roll of
toilet paper yields 2-3 dildos), water, water-colors, glitter, nail
polish, other make-up materials, packaging tape, and if for use,

Picnic + Workshop: Sign Language + Workshop: Flirt Zone

  • Time: 15:00 – 20:00
  • Place: Maçka Parkı (Maçka Park)

Once again this year, we invite you all to join a boisterous picnic on
the greenest of the green grass, under the trees. Sign language workshop
will be open to all attendees during the picnic. Workshops, games and
much more at Maçka Park, underneath the rainbow.

Workshop: Sign Language

  • Time: 15:00
  • Place: Maçka Parkı (Maçka Park)

Facilitators: Kaan Göncü, Ahmet Turan Yılmaz

This Sign Language workshop organized by SPoD’s LGBTI with Disabilities
working group is open to all who want to understand deaf and
hard-of-hearing individuals in their own language, to discover sign
language, and to give moral support to our work with new thoughts.

Workshop: Armenian Folk Dance

  • Time: 15:00
  • Place: Maçka Parkı (Maçka Park)

Facilitator: Kyle Khandakian

Kyle Khandakian was kicked out of an Armenian Folk Dance class that he
attended for 5 months in Armenia because he is gay. We will learn the
Armenian Folk Dance shoulder to shoulder despite homophobia, fascism,
sexism, and even closed borders.

Workshop: Flirt Zone

  • Time: 15:00
  • Place: Maçka Parkı (Maçka Park)

Facilitators: Derya Akişli, Pınar Karabağ

Is flirting a fruit or a vegetable? How do you want your flirt? What we
know and what we desire is not enough. Are the feelings of Insecurity,
taboo, embarrassment, and fear that trick us really ours? Let’s talk
about flirting styles, spaces, and experiences.
Note: Participation is closed to cisgendered men.

Panel: Being LGBTI+ in Diaspora and Spaces for Organizing

  • Time: 16:00 – 18:00
  • Place: Cezayir Toplantı Salonu (Cezayir Meeting Room)

Moderator: Sertan Kıyan


  • Kyle Khadakian, “The Armenian Community in the US and Experiences of
    Homophobia and Organizing in Armenia”
  • Robert Hannah, “Experiences of Organizing in the Swedish Assyrian

Sweden leads the world charts as an example of human rights and gender
equality. So how is being Assyrian and LGBTI+ viewed in Sweden? What
kinds of problems does one face when organizing and asking for votes as
a parliamentarian? What does one prepare for when voted into parliament
as an openly gay man? We will talk about what to face, what the
advantages and disadvantages are.

Short Films Screening

  • Time: 18:00
  • Place: Cezayir Toplantı Salonu (Cezayir Meeting Room)
  • Kurneqîz/Trans WomanDirector: Gökhan ve Nadide Seza Yalçınkaya“Kurdish short film about a 17 year old trans child who goes through
    an internal reckoning and ostracization in a rural village.”There will be a Q&A with the film crew after the screening.
  • Nerdesin Aşkım?/Where Are You My Love?Director: Merve GezenThe film that toured world festivals comes home with the “Human
    Rights Award” from Boston and “Best Film” from Canada. The first
    screening in Turkey will be at Istanbul LGBTI Pride.
    There will be a Q&A with the director Merve Gezen and actor Seyhan
    Arman after the screening.

Workshop: Drag King

  • Time: 20:00 – 22:00
  • Place: Çıplak Ayaklar (Çıplak Ayaklar Dance Studio)

Drag King is the performance of different roles of men and masculinity
with clothes, attitude, make up, etc. Playboy, drifter, intellectual,
tough guy, gentleman, man on a mission, revolutionary, closeted gay, big
shot, family man, tender…

Real or caricaturized; gender is a playground in this workshop. You can
perform stereotypes of men or you can reveal the masculine in you! We’ll
first study the book of manhood and practice wearing beards and
moustaches, walk, sit, etc. Then we’ll go party and play. The workshop
is open to women and trans individuals who want to experience

Note: Registration required. Please email [email protected]



  • Time: 19:00 – 21:00
  • Place: Taksim Spor Kulübü (Taksim Sports Club)

There is no swearing at women, sluts, fags. There is no being used by
the industry and mafia club owners. No excuse for violence by rowdy
hooligans. Despite the patriarchy and heterosexism of the soccer field,
established and distinguished (!) queer teams of the queer football
community (?!) Atletik Dildoa, Sportif Lezbon, Lezyonerler and Queer
Park Rangers are getting together for a fun, communal tournament (!!!)
People who want to experience the fun of scoring and getting scored, the
intersection of dribbles, can email us at [email protected] and
become a player in the 4th team called Queer Training Boarding School.
Come, let’s meet offside.


  • Time: 21:00
  • Place: Depo Taksim


  • Time: 22:00
  • Place: nayah

“Oriental” shows, curvy performances all night and we can’t get enough
of it!

All proceeds will go to solidarity with LGBTI+ refugees.

Sunday, June 26

Event: Bicycle Tour

  • Time: 15:00
  • Place: Beşiktaş İskele (Beşiktaş Ferry Stop)
  • Route: Beşiktaş – Kabataş – Karaköy – Tarlabaşı – Taksim –
    Istiklal Avenue

We meet at Besiktas Ferry Stop to pedal to Istiklal Avenue with our
Rainbow flags for the 24th Istanbul LGBTI+ Pride Week.


  • Time: 17:00
  • Place: Istiklal Caddesi (Istiklal Avenue)

We are on Istiklal Avenue for the 14th time and with growing numbers!
We’re going to rock the streets with our slogans, fusing our joy and
love with our resistance, bedazzling the avenues with our rainbow flags.
We are way too few if you are not there!


  • Time: 21:00
  • Place: Depo Taksim

Entrance: Free (2 glasses of cocktail drinks sangria free of charge)

Party: Closing Party

  • Time: 22:00
  • Place: COOP

To celebrate our existence, our love, our desire, our pride, let’s meet
at the 24th Istanbul LGBTI+ Pride Week closing party after coloring
Taksim in rainbows.

Sema Yakar Will Serve As Advisor to Şişli’s New Equality Unit

At the inauguration of Şişli’s Social Equality Unit, Şişli Mayor Hayri İnönü noted that the Unit will focus on gender issues and Sema Yakar will serve as a volunteer advisor.

Source: Yıldız Tar, “Şişli Eşitlik Birimi’ne Sema Yakar Danışmanlık Yapacak”, (“Sema Yakar Will Serve As Advisor to Şişli’s New Equality Unit”),, 23 October 2015,

Şişli’s new Social Equality Unit was inaugurated at an event in Şişli’s City Hall. The night was hosted by Mayor Hayri İnönü and attended by representatives from LGBTI and human rights organizations, as well as the consuls of the United States, Israel, Brazil, and Canada.

Hosted by actress Seyhan Arman, the event introduced the Unit set up largely by the efforts of Boysan Yakar, LGBTI activist and the advisor to the Mayor, who recently died in a traffic accident.

sisliesitlikbirimigece_3“This is a space that we fought to earn”

Arman began her speech with words in memory of Yakar: “In a world of inequalities and discrimination, Boysan convinced us that we could win if we stood united. He conquered our hearts with his kindhearted and egalitarian attitude. This space can be seen as simply a workplace, but it is also a space that we fought to earn.”

After Arman’s speech, a video was screened showing the Unit’s street interviews on the subject, “What is gender?”

Next, the municipality’s social media representative Dilek Güven delivered a speech. A close coworker of Boysan, Güven had a hard time suppressing her tears. She reminisced about meeting Boysan in the local elections and his question to her at the time, “Will you stand by me?”

“I had not understood exactly what he meant at the time, but now I do. The Equality Unit was one of Boysan’s biggest dreams. He had told me a long time ago that we would succeed in setting up this unit. And with Mayor Hayri İnönü’s leadership, the Unit has finally come into being.”

“Hayri İnönü: Boysan inspired us all”

Mayor Hayri İnönü also began his speech with words honoring Boysan: “Boysan was someone that everybody should have met. He inspired us all with his high level of energy. His absence is deeply felt.” İnönü conveyed his condolences once again to Yakar’s family, the LGBTI community, and to all human rights advocates.

İnönü explained how the Social Equality Unit is planned to function:

“The Social Equality Unit will develop the municipality’s policies regarding women, LGBTIs, disabled individuals, minorities, refugees, children and senior citizens, who experience economic, social, and cultural discrimination. The Unit will work both on the services that we provide within our participatory government framework and the issues of inclusion within decision-making mechanisms. Our final goal is to eliminate all social inequalities.”


Sema Yakar will serve as advisor to the Unit

After tackling gender, the Unit will gradually expand its work area and encompass all of society. The Unit will receive guidance from a volunteer team headed by Sema Yakar, Boysan’s mother and a founder of LISTAG (Families of LGBTIs in Istanbul).

Sema Yakar: “Boysan is my comrade”

Sema Yakar, who was in the US to work on Boysan’s uncompleted tasks from when he was in the US earlier this year, joined the event via a videotaped message. Yakar remarked that, these days, we see once again that human life is cheap. Speaking in memory of Boysan, she noted, “He is my comrade, my teacher of all things new. Your fight will be the fight of us all.”


Boysan’s father Hakan Yakar continued: “Being an ‘other,’ Boysan had to begin his fight at an early age. He was an LGBTI activist, an advocate of human rights and the environment, a brave heart, a revolutionary, and most importantly, the pride of our family.” Yakar noted that a book that Boysan was reading before his death, called Beyond Human, was found at the accident site: “He had scribbled in the margins the ‘cheapness of death in Turkey.’ It is so true. Traffic monsters took away three of our dearest souls: Boysan, Zeliş, and Mert. May they rest in peace.”

“No peace without equality”

Melda Onur, a CHP candidate in the general elections from Istanbul, remarked that Boysan’s absence was deeply felt: “We have to hold on to each other tightly and continue the struggle.” Onur said that the Unit should set an example for other municipalities.

“There can be no peace without equality and no freedom without peace. I hope that this Unit sets an example to all local governments and inspires them, starting with municipalities in Istanbul.”

The last speaker was Meltem Ağduk from the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA). Ağduk reminded the audience of the “Women Friendly Cities” project that her agency had started in 2005: “Şişli Municipality’s project seems to be at a much more advanced level than our project. Cities are founded with a masculine perspective and this perspective labels many groups as ‘others.’ The way to overcome this problem is to multiply projects like the one started by Şişli.”

The night was concluded with a cocktail.


Human Rights Coalition Calls for Government Response to Rising Threats and Harassment of LGBTI People in Turkey

A coalition of Turkish and international human rights organizations today strongly criticized the Turkish government for failing to protect the safety and security of LGBTI individuals, who are facing rising threats and harassment, including death threats and the reported sexual assault of a community leader. The coalition includes LGBTI News Turkey as well as the Kaos GL Association; the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex Association (ILGA), and the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC). More information can be found here.

Kemal Ördek’s Interview with Bianet: “No place is heaven for Trans people, hell is everywhere for sex workers”

Kemal Ördek: “1 in every 2 sex worker has experienced police violence. 50% of all perpetrators are police officers. [Apart from the police,] the perpetrator profile includes clients, organized crime groups, family members, neighbors, boyfriends, and so on. Access to justice is very limited, which points out to the need to execute legal support projects. Only 25% of sex workers who were targeted with physical violence appealed to the legal processes; only 10% of this 25% [i.e. 2.5% of all participants] believe that the perpetrators received the penalties they should have received. This is a horrible situation; access to the justice mechanisms is almost nonexistent.”

Kemal Ördek

Kemal Ördek

Source: Dilara Şenkaya, “Translara Hiçbir Yer Cennet Değil, Seks İşçilerine Her Yer Cehennem” (“No place is heaven for Trans people, hell is everywhere for sex workers”), Bianet, 4 July 2015,

Kemal Ördek has been the chair of the Board Of Directors at the Red Umbrella Sexual Health and Human Rights Association since 2013 and is a seasoned LGBTI rights activist. They tells that Red Umbrella was founded because, while everyone debated sex workers, sex workers themselves were excluded from these debates.

Both the founders and the Board Of Directors of Red Umbrella consist of sex workers, which conducts studies on challenges that men and women sex workers experience, their demands, and the violence directed at them. They bring together sex workers and organize trainings in various provinces of Turkey. They organize similar trainings for lawyers as well, informing them of the issues at hand.

Ördek reports that the projects that are born of home visits and interviews produced positive results and that awareness among the sex workers they were able reach out to has increased significantly. Ördek continues: “We also conduct studies jointly with universities; for instance, last year, sex work studies was a mandatory course at Ankara University Department of Law graduate program.”

Another primary objective of the Association is to change the sex work legislation.

We met with Kemal Ördek when they arrived at Istanbul for Pride Week and discussed sex workers’ rights struggle.

Ördek explains that, as long as it does not include violence, threat, or coercion, sex work needs to be legalized, which would additionally lead to a decrease in sexually transmitted infections since sex workers would be able to freely access healthcare without being discriminated against: “Everything starts at legal recognition and guarantees. The current atmosphere of dismissiveness needs to be addressed; dismissiveness also means precarity.”

“What were the results of the ‘Project for the Mapping of Violence against and Legal Support for Trans Sex Workers’?”

We collected data on the physical, sexual, psychological, and financial violence that sex workers experience. Additionally, we have identified various restrictions, obligations, barriers, and needs in terms of access to justice, towards the solution of which we have developed policy proposals. Violence was widespread in all regions. For instance, in terms of physical violence, the rate of sex workers who experienced one or more types of violence was 75%. The sexual violence rate was 55%; psychological rate, about 68%. These are excessive rates. What is more, these are only the reported cases; the real prevalence might be much higher.

1 in every 2 sex worker has experienced police violence. 50% of all perpetrators are police officers. [Apart from the police,] the perpetrator profile includes clients, organized crime groups, family members, neighbors, boyfriends, and so on. Access to justice is very limited, which points out to the need to execute legal support projects. Only 25% of sex workers who were targeted with physical violence appealed to the legal processes; only 10% of this 25% [i.e. 2.5% of all participants] believe that the perpetrators received the penalties they should have received. This is a horrible situation; access to the justice mechanisms is almost nonexistent.

In comparison with examples worldwide, what are the differences and deficiencies in terms of social visibility and laws?

There is no single example. There is a multiplicity of examples even within Europe. Serious problems are observed in Serbia as well as in Netherlands and England… In fact, violence is widespread worldwide, whether in the east or the west. And no place is a heaven for trans people either. Both observed and reported rates of violence as well as the visibility of the cases may be decreasing with increasing levels of education, however, this does not mean that violence is non-existent. Violence shifts to other areas, for instance the rate of financial violence increases. I had said that, in terms of sex work, no place is a heaven for trans people. Yet for sex workers, hell is everywhere. Worldwide, only New Zealand and Australia’s South Wales practices a legal model where sex work is decriminalized. It has either been criminalized or somehow punishable everywhere else in the world. That is why it is not productive to study countries comparatively; one needs to focus on each country separately.

What are the social and legal demands and expectations of sex workers in Turkey?

Sex work needs to be decriminalized. As long as they do not include violence, threat or coercion, all activities in this area need to be decriminalized. Arguments such as “mediators will exploit, some new criminal networks will emerge” are nothing but excuses. The current Turkish Criminal Code is of this nature and still is a total failure. To the contrary, it targets sex workers.

Our demand is the punishment of acts that involve keeping someone within this industry using coercion, threat, blackmail or violence because these already are rights violations. Anything beyond these are covered by individual consent. Prostitution [“fuhuş”] is perceived as a crime in and of itself. As the state legitimizes this perception by inscribing it as law [and policy], the perception of the society at large also falls in line. The state is obligated to reorganize the law in a way that will eradicate this perception from the public sphere and to produce social programs towards that objective.

How do the problems that men sex workers experience from those that women sex workers experience?

Because men sex workers are not visible, their problems remain invisible. As the problems remain invisible, the rights violations too become excluded from the public view. At that point, men sex workers cease to have opportunities to request justice. Because documentation and reporting are impossible, strategies for legal remedies cannot be developed. Apart from their existing invisibility, they also do not know how to become visible. They do not know that there exists non-governmental organizations that are attentive to them. As such, projects towards increasing men sex workers’ awareness towards the issue cannot be developed. This invisibility exists for women sex workers as well. Any visibility that comes to existence in this field stands on and develops through misinformation. Police reports, studies, the women whose names are mentioned, they are all dismissed and ignored in news production that pays no attention to sensitivities.


What are the projects planned by the Red Umbrella?

First, we have training programs that strengthen individuals’ capacity to access the justice system. Second, we have projects aimed at raising awareness among bosses and parliamentarians on the high-handed and illegal practices by the police and the governors that sex workers endure. Furthermore, sex workers rights-based physical improvement of brothels will be among our advocacy efforts.

We continue to work with the United Nations Population Fund on the fields of sexual and reproductive health. In addition, in September, we will be organizing a high level meeting at the UN that will gather together the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the Turkish National Police, academics, representatives from non-governmental organizations. This meeting will be the venue to discuss the relationship between HIV/AIDS and sex work towards producing proposals. In December, we will be carrying out a project in Ankara where authorities from the Directorate of Public Health and chairs of the commission against prostitution [“fuhuşla mücadele komisyonu”] will be invited.

Lastly, would you like to share your comments about the police assault against the 13th Istanbul Pride Parade?

They did not allow our Pride Parade, the sole goal of which is to announce that we are not ashamed of being LGBTIs, that we are subjected to rights violations, and that we have certain demands for rights. Not only did they not allow that but they assaulted us horribly using TOMAs [armored water-cannons], plastic bullets, and tear gas. We were [physically] paralyzed during the intense attack. The police assaulted and mistreated many LGBTIs. I was personally insulted by the police. We had no guns, no bombs. Only our rainbow flags and our slogans for equality. Nevertheless, we witnessed a showcase of intolerance. What this implies is that the AKP [the ruling Justice and Development Party] is terribly afraid of our voice, which is becoming louder and louder with each passing day. The government is spooked by the increasing numbers of members of parliament, municipalities, celebrities, and various social classes who support us. They cited the month of Ramadan and talked about religion and ethics, but what they painted with their actions is a kind of worldview that is void of kindness, compassion, and understanding, which are the very principles of the religion they claim to practice. They disallowed our walk, which did not generate a single problem for 13 years, and violated those who disclaimed “this is our right.” The state terrorism had LGBTIs at its target this time around. I think a new era is beginning. In this era, I believe that LGBTI organizations will experience increased amounts of harsh [i.e. illegal/violent -Trans.] state practices. Precisely because of that, everyone ought to be side by side with LGBTIs.

Minute-by-minute: What happened at the Pride Parade?

Photo: Şener Yılmaz Aslan

Photo: Şener Yılmaz Aslan via Kaos GL

The police attacked the Istanbul LGBTI Pride Parade with tear gas, pressurized water, and plastic bullets. Protesters were taken into custody and journalists assaulted. Parliamentarians from HDP [People’s Democratic Party]  and CHP [Republican People’s Party] resisted police violence hand in hand. Despite the police attacks that continued throughout the day, the rainbow flag was waved in all the streets of Beyoğlu.

Source: Kaos GL, “Onur Yürüyüşü’nde saat saat ne oldu?” (“Minute-by-minute: What happened at the Pride Parade?”), 29 June 2015,

The governorate attempted to ban the Parade using Ramadan as an excuse. Assaults continued throughout the day on İstiklal Avenue and in Cihangir and Şişli. Three different crowds marched to Tunnel. During the press statement there, the crowds were assaulted [by police -Trans.]. Thousands of people resisted as they tried to gather together despite tear gas and plastic bullet attacks by the police.

Here is a minute-by-minute timeline of the attacks:

14.00 A press statement was read in front of the Galatasaray High School by mental health workers. At first, the police did not allow the reading of the press release.
15.00 The police attempted to take into custody [Bianet editor] Çiçek Tahaoğlu and Kaos GL editor Yıldız Tar when they tried to record the intervention of the Genç-Sen [Students’ Union] stand by the police. Our [Kaos GL] editor Tar was assaulted and removed from the stand area when they reminded the police that journalists’ right to report cannot be interfered with. Bianet editor Tahaoğu who reacted to the event was taken into custody. The editors were released upon the intervention of lawyers.
16.30 Participants encountered the first police attacks at the Pride Parade on İstiklal Avenue. Participants were scattered into side streets.
16.44 Following the police assault, LGBTIs in the side streets gathered again on İstiklal Avenue as they chanted slogans.
16.57 The crowd attempted to pass through the police barricades on side street entrances and enter İstiklal Avenue. Thousands succeeded in gathering together at the Taksim Square entrance of İstiklal Avenue.
16.46 The police assaulted the crowd that was gathered at Mis Street once again. Sporadic confrontations continued.
17.00 The police attacked and battered the journalists who were trying to record images. One person was reported to have been taken into custody.
17.01 The police attacked the crowd who were trying to enter İstiklal Avenue from the Taksim Square entrance. The crowd retreated towards Sıraselviler Street. The police continued their tear gas and pressurized water attacks.
17.03 The police attacked LGBTIs who were waiting in front of the Galatasaray High School with tear gas and pressurized water. The crowd retreated towards Tunnel. Police violence continued.
17.05 The crowd which had moved to Tarlabaşı gathered again. Thousands marched towards Taksim Square.
17.08 HDP’s Istanbul MP Filiz Kerestecioğu participated in the Pride Parade as well. The police assaulted Kerestecioğlu.
17.20 HDP MPs Filiz Kerestecioğlu, Beyza Üstün and Sezai Temelli and CHP MP Mahmut Tanal held hands in front of the police barricade and demanded that attacks be stopped. The police attacked the MPs and the crowd in the vicinity with plastic bullets.
17.22 Following the police attack at Hasnun Galip Street, one person was wounded. Thousands filled the streets leading to İstiklal Avenue. The crowd roamed the side streets trying to reach the Avenue, chanting slogans.
17.39 The police attacked once more the crowd who were marching towards and gathering in Taksim Square. The crowd retreated towards Talimhane.
17.48 The police blocked the members of the famous Boston Gay Men’s Chorus from entering İstiklal Avenue.
17.52 The police attacked once again the crowd who were gathering at Sıraselviler Street. The crowd responded by barricading themselves and throwing plastic soda bottles. Some of the crowd at Sıraselviler marched towards Cihangir.
18.05 MPs from HDP and CHP read a press statement at Taksim Square under a rainbow flag with regards to the police attack against the Pride Parade.
18.12 HDP Istanbul MP Filiz Kerestecioğlu talked with Istanbul Governor Vasip Şahin on the phone. Governor Şahin declared: “We won’t allow them to march because of Ramadan.”
18.26 CHP and HDP MPs read a statement in Taksim Square. HDP’s Musa Piroğlu said: “This nation hosts many people who have been othered. [This sentence has a dual meaning: “This nation has othered many people.” -Trans.] This assault was against all of us. The Istanbul Police Force is almost saying ‘We are ISIL’.” The crowd began their march towards İstiklal Avenue following the statement. In tandem with the march, the crowds nearby began gathering on İstiklal Street.
18.35 The crowd, which had moved towards Harbiye following the police attack in Taksim Square gathered together once again. Hundreds of people closed the road to traffic and began marching towards Şişli. The crowd at İstiklal Avenue gathered together as well. Thousands chanted “Don’t remain silent, scream LGBTs exist.” Ayşe Erdem, HDP’s co-chair, supported the LGBTIs as well.
18.39 The crowd who began marching along with HDP MPs moved to Tünel [Activist correction- MPs marched until Galatasaray]. Here, it was reported that Sendika.Org journalist Murat Karadeniz was wounded by police with a plastic bullet on his eyebrow. Karadeniz was taken to the hospital.
18.46 Police began once more their attack on the crowd at Mis Street with tear gas.
19.05 The police stopped the crowd who had blocked traffic and was marching towards Şişli. TOMAs [militarized police vehicles -Trans.] announced “Disperse”. The crowd responded by chanting.
19.10 Many were affected by the intense tear gas deployed during the attack at Galatasaray.
19.29 The police attacked the crowd once again while a press statement was being read.
19.40 The 23rd LGBTI Pride Week Parade participants did not disperse despite police assaults. The crowd, who were resisting for hours, marched towards the Tunnel. The protest ended here with a press statement stating: “We are everywhere, get used to it, we are not leaving.”
19.47 The police attacked the crowd which had already dispersed with batons, plastic bullets, and pressurized water.
22.00 The Pride Week celebration party at Tünel was attacked [by police].
23.00 [Police] attacked the street where the closing party [held in a privately owned bar -Trans.] was taking place. The participants took refuge in the terrace.

We have utilized the information passed on by our correspondents and by ETHA, and

Statement from the Governorate Concerning the Attack on Pride Parade

The Istanbul Governorate stated that the police intervened on the Pride Parade due to the possibility of provocation. No problems were experienced during the event until the police attack

Source: Kaos GL, “Valilik’ten Onur Yürüyüşü’ne Saldırı Açıklaması”, (“Statement from the Governorate Concerning the Attack on Pride Parade”), 29 June 2015,

After the intense police attack on the Pride Parade, the Istanbul Governorate published their first statement. The Governorate, which could not be reached throughout the day, claimed that “there was no serious physical injury which needed medical attention in our health facilities as a result of the incidents.”

The police attack on the Pride Parade, which has taken place peacefully for the past 12 years, was explained with the possibility of a “provocation”.

The full text of the Governorate’s statement is as follows:

“Upon intelligence from the social media and the press organs on 28 June 2015 that some groups will be organizing a march and a protest on Istiklal Avenue and Taksim Square under the name of LGBT Pride Parade and that some groups may react to this, necessary security precautions have been taken in the aforementioned places.

For the reason that there was no application nor prior notice to our governorate concerning the march and that it was open to provocations, the groups that gathered were warned. However, the protest continued and the groups were dispersed by our security forces within the responsibility assigned to us by the law and by paying attention to the principle of proportionality [of police force -Trans.].

After the dispersal of protesting groups, everyday life has returned back to normal at both Taksim Square, Istiklal Avenue and the side streets.

There were no serious physical injuries that would have needed the dispatch of our health facilities as a result of the incidents.


Update 29 June 2015: Link added to the minute-by-minute report.

Press Statement for Istanbul 2015 LGBTI Pride March

Greetings to all those who have embraced our path as their path, our struggle as their struggle!

The 2015 Istanbul LGBTI Pride March has been banned at the last minute and without prior notice by the Istanbul Governorship on account of Ramadan.

The police have attacked the participants, which was expected to be approximately 100,000 people, with pepper gas, rubber bullets and TOMAs [militarized police vehicles commonly deployed against civilian activists and protesters -Trans.].

With our self-respect at stake, we resisted. We resisted with our dances, our songs and our love!

Love will win!

We want to share with you the press statement that we would have shared if the attacks had not occurred:


Governor bans pride parade at the last minute; police attacks participants

The announcement by the 23. Istanbul LGBTI Pride Committee in response to a last minute ban against the pride parade is as follows:

The 13th Istanbul LGBTI Pride Parade scheduled to take place at 17:00 in Taksim has suddenly been banned by the Governorate, using the month of Ramadan as an excuse, without any announcement.

The police is attacking tens of thousands of people with pepper spray, plastic bullets and water cannons.

All entrances and exits to and from Taksim and Istiklal Street have been shut down.

We call on the Istanbul Governor Vasip Sahin to adhere to the Constitution of the Republic of Turkey, to immediately cease the attacks, and to make a public statement.

All Pride Parade participants are urged to remain in place and not leave Beyoglu until the walk can be started as planned.

People who believe in a free world but could not make it to Taksim: we invite you to make some noise with pots & pans or whatever you find, wherever you are, at 6pm.


Love wins!

#GelYanima #JoinUs

23. Istanbul LGBTI Pride Committee

LGBTI refugees constitute the most invisible group

The Lambdaistanbul LGBTI Refugee Commission has released a written statement for the June 20th Refugees Day. The Commission, which listed the problems experienced by LGBTI refugees in Turkey and shared their demands, said that “LGBTI immigrants and refugees constitute the most invisible and disadvantaged group.”

syria-refugees-no-one-is-illegal (more…)

Syrian Trans Refugee Mişa: Trans Guesthouse has become a home for me

Discussions on trans refugees were held as part of the trans pride week. Mişa, a Syrian trans refugee woman, lamented “I imagined that I would be happy in Istanbul. Apparently, I was wrong.”

Source: Yıldız Tar, “Suriyeli Trans Mülteci Mişa: Trans Misafirhanesi evim gibi oldu” (“Syrian Trans Refugee Mişa: Trans Guesthouse has become a home for me”). Kaos GL, 20 June 2015,

Organized by the Istanbul LGBTI Solidarity Association, 6th Trans Pride Week continues. As part of the various panels and workshops taking place during the week, a discussion on trans refugees was held. Problems of trans refugees seeking shelter and various solutions to their problems including the trans guesthouse were presented.

transmultecipanel (1)

The panel, held at the İsmail Beşikçi Foundation, was moderated by Deniz Tunç. The speakers were Mişa, a trans refugee woman and occupant of the trans guesthouse; Zeynep Kıvılcım of the Istanbul University Political Sciences Faculty, Cansu Alözkan of the Refugees and Immigrants Solidarity Association and Selin Berghan of the Pink Life Association.

Trans Guesthouse provided shelter for 50 people

In her opening speech, Deniz Tunç provided updates on the Trans Guesthouse.  According to Tunç, the trans guesthouse provided shelter to almost 50 people. “We have hosted as many as 20 LGBTI refugees from war and we will continue to accommodate them as long as our resources allow us. It is, however, time to stand in solidarity with the guesthouse.” Tunç continued.

“I imagined that I would be happy in Istanbul, Apparently I was wrong”

First panelist Mişa, a Syrian trans refugee woman, talked about the hardships of being an asylum seeker and what she went through in Istanbul.

“When I first got here, I imagined that I would be very happy here and that I would have a good future. I thought people would be open-minded and respectful but apparently I was wrong. I escaped Syria because it is a homophobic country and I was not respected there. In Istanbul though, every day is a different adventure. I do not have a job. Istanbul is an expensive city. I do not have an ID card. I have no income to speak of. The only place I can live in is the Taksim area and it is very expensive here. I have thought about returning to Syria after going through all of these problems. I risked going back, even though my life was in danger there. That is when some people told me about the Trans guesthouse and that I could stay there. I met the people in the organization and they told me that I could stay with them until I get my life in order. Later, I registered with the United Nations as a refugee. If it were not for the Trans Guesthouse, I would be on the streets now.”


Istanbul Pride Week 2015 Event Schedule

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Table of Contents


Gender Distribution of Candidates in Party Nominations for the 2015 General Elections in Turkey

No Equality, No Justice!

The practice of the 10% election threshold blocks various social groups from being represented in the Parliament and invalidates the voters’ will. Political parties exacerbate the situation by excluding women.

Source: “Eşitlik Yoksa Adalet de Yoktur” (“No Equality, No Justice!”), Kadın Koalisyonu [Women’s Coalition], 19 May 2015,

The practice of the 10% election threshold blocks various social groups from being represented in the Parliament and invalidates the voters’ will. [In this system, political parties that receive less than 10% of the votes cannot join the parliament. For instance, in 2002, as a result of numerous parties failing to pass the threshold, more than 40% of the electorate (14+ million) ended up not being represented in the parliament. Instituted following the military coup of 1980, the threshold was and still is routinely used against parties that do not follow the traditional state lines such as Kurdish rights, and for a time, Islamists. –Trans.]

Political parties exacerbate the situation by excluding women. Of the 4 parties most likely to pass the threshold, it was only the HDP [Peoples’ Democratic Party] that came close to an equal male-female ratio with 45% women candidates. It was also the HDP that nominated women in all the cities of the nation except 3. [In contrast] The AKP [the ruling party, Justice and Development Party] did not nominate women in 37 cities, CHP [Republican People’s Party] in 41 cities, and MHP [Nationalist Movement Party] in 51 cities. Yet, these are parties that have been in the parliament for years and that have been receiving election funding.

Women are everywhere. Yet women are absent in political party nominee lists! We will give neither our votes nor our affirmation to those parties that do not nominate women! We will vote for those who take steps towards equality, liberty, and justice.

Gender Equality in MP Candidacies

In total, only 26.6% of the candidates are women.

In terms of the percentage of women candidates they nominated for the 2015 General Election, the Communist Party came in 1st with 100%, the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) came in second with 45%, and the People’s Liberation Party and Anatolia Party shared the 3rd place with 34% each. Of these political parties, only the HDP has a group in Parliament.


[Among the political parties most likely to pass the 10% threshold, only women nominations by the HDP’s exceeded 20%. HDP is currently not the main opposition party in Turkey.]


[Candidates’ chances of being elected decrease significantly when they are not nominated from the first rank of their party. These chances decrease even more if their name is not included in the second rank. Only 9% of women candidates are nominated for the first list by the CHP, MHP, HDP, and AKP combined (pie chart on the left). 14% are nominated from the second list (pie chart in the middle). 77% of the women candidates, i.e. 402 candidates from the CHP, MHP, HDP, and AKP are nominated from neither the first nor from the second list (pie chart on the right).]


The percentage of women candidates did not to surpass 30% in Turkey’s 72 electoral districts!

Political Parties and Independents Number of Women Candidates Percentage of Women Candidates Total Number of Candidates Number of Electoral Districts
The Right Path Party 86 25.07% 343 56
Anatolia Party 189 34.36% 550 85
Rights and Liberties Party 122 25.26% 483 75
Communist Party 550 100.00% 550 85
Community Party 104 18.91% 550 85
Right and Justice Party 29 19.73% 147 43
Center Party 98 20.25% 484 73
Social Negotiation and Development Party 91 25.93% 351 55
People’s Liberation Party 195 35.45% 550 85
Liberal Democrat Party 86 21.03% 409 58
Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) 67 12.18% 550 85
People’s Democratic Party (HDP) 249 45.27% 550 85
Peace Party 42 7.64% 550 85
Republican People’s Party (CHP) 107 19.45% 550 85
Justice and Development Party (AKP) 100 18.18% 550 85
Democratic Leftist Party 117 21.27% 550 85
Nation’s [Yurt] Party 67 20.36% 329 56
Democrat Party 76 13.82% 550 85
Nation’s [Vatan] Party 137 24.91% 550 85
Independent Turkey Party 98 17.82% 550 85
Independent Candidates 15 9.09% 165 46
Total 2625 26.62% 9861

On the 2015 General Elections and the Data

The 2015 Parliamentary Election will be conducted in 81 cities, with a total of 85 electoral districts. 20 political parties formally registered 9,696 candidates with the Supreme Committee of Elections, in addition to the 165 registered independent candidates. These candidacies were published in the Supreme Committee of Elections website. In addition to the lack of categorization of candidates by gender in political party websites, the Supreme Committee of Elections itself has no awareness of gender with regards to the nominations. As such, in order to obtain a 99% reliability rate, whenever in doubt, we researched candidates online and attempted to confirm our findings with the limited number of parties that showed the sensibility to share their data with us.


Update 08 June 2015: According to Lambdaistanbul, women obtained 98 parliamentary seats out of the 550 in Turkey’s June 07 2015 General Elections. Accordingly, the rate of representation of women in Turkey’s Parliament increased by %3.5 from the 24th Parliament, elected in 2011, to 17.8%. In contrast, women constituted 49.82% of Turkey’s population according to the 2014 results of the Address Based Population Registration System.


Translator’s Note: The figures provided in this text have been prepared by LGBTI News Turkey volunteers in the course of the Turkish-English translation of the source text for translation purposes using the raw data provided by the source text. These figures are released under a CC-BY-SA license.

Hate speech against LGBTI by the Milli Irade Platformu

Hate speech against LGBTI by the Milli Irade Platformu, a pro-government platform of civil society organizations: “Our morality is our value. The people does not forgive those who pushes forward homosexual perversion onto the people as if it were a legitimate act. To legitimize the publicization of sin is an assassination against the values of this people. This initiative will fail yet again with The People’s Will.” (Scroll down for a list of organizations allegedly supporting this statement.)


Turkey’s Former Minister of Interior: ‘Gay marriage is the destruction of humanity’

The former Minister of Interior and current candidate for parliament running with the AKP [Turkey’s ruling party] from Erzurum, opposed gay marriage on TGRT TV News program and said that “the tribe of Lot” was destroyed because of this.

Source: “Efkan Ala da hedef gösterme peşinde: Eşcinsel evlilik insanlığın helakıdır” (“Efkan Ala is also intent on pointing people out as targets: ‘Gay marriage is the destruction of humanity’”), Birgün, 2 June 2015,

The former Minister of Interior and current candidate for parliament running with the AKP [Turkey’s ruling party] from Erzurum, opposed gay marriage on TGRT TV News program and said that “the tribe of Lot” was destroyed because of this.

Pointing Barış Sulu, the HDP’s Eskişehir LGBTI MP candidate, as a target[1], he said:

“For God’s sake, look at these candidates that the HDP put forth. I can’t even bring myself to say it. They have put forth candidates that our citizen [sic] cannot accept.”

Efkan Ala continued:

“Our Kurdish brothers are religious people. For God’s sake, look at these candidates that the HDP put forth. I can’t even bring myself to say it. They have put forth candidates that our citizen [sic] cannot accept. I mean let me say this, they have put forth a transvestite candidate. They put forth homosexuals as candidates. In its election declaration, the HDP says that these [sic] will be afforded all sorts of rights, of the right of a man to marry and be with a man and of the right of a woman to marry and be with a woman. We are saying that we are against such things on topics that our morality our tradition rejects. What is this, a man marrying a man, a woman marrying a woman. The tribe of Lot was destroyed because of this[1]. That is, this is the destruction of humanity.”

[1] Turkey has a history of political violence, hate crimes, and political assassinations that followed a governmental authority figure and/or mainstream media singling out a person or a group out as rightfully injurable with impunity. -Trans.