Human rights

Ministry of Justice: LGBT training is provided to prisons’ psycho-social service experts

The Ministry of Justice responded to a request for information regarding LGBT inmates and said that it provides training on how to approach LGBT convicts and detainees to the prisons’ psycho-social service experts. The Ministry did not respond to the question on whether correctional officers and the general inmate population receive programs on awareness-building and violence prevention.

Source: Murat Köylü, “Adalet Bakanlığı: Cezaevi psiko-sosyal servis uzmanlarına LGBT eğitimi verildi”, (“Ministry of Justice: LGBT training is provided to prisons’ psycho-social service experts”), Kaos GL, 30 December 2014,

The Ministry had said “We do not do any work on LGBT rights”

The Ministry of Justice sent a partial answer to Mahmut Tanal’s request for information regarding “LGBT rights in prisons”. Mahmut Tanal is a member of the Grand National Assembly of Turkey’s Human Rights Commission.

The Ministry of Justice had answered that they do not conduct “any work on LGBT rights”, in response to another request for information by Parliamentarian Tanal. However, it has been revealed that the Ministry is in fact giving trainings on the issue to the prison psycho-social service experts.

Isolation instead of education!

The European Court of Human Rights had found Turkey guilty of discrimination and ill-treatment in a 2012 case regarding a gay inmate’s “isolation for his own security.” In the following months of the judgement,  the Ministry of Justice had put forth an “LGBT-only Prison”, which was criticized by civil society as “collective isolation”.

Mahmut Tanal, Member of Parliament from the Republican People’s Party, submitted a parliamentary question in November 2014 to the Minister of Justice Bekir Bozdağ on “LGBT inmates rights”. However, given the fact that questions submitted by opposition parties usually go unanswered, the same questions were submitted to the Ministry through a request for information, which makes a response mandatory.

The questions submitted by MP Tanal are:

  • Are there any occupational trainings regarding the problems and special needs of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and trans detainees and convicts given to correctional officers, teachers, social workers, psychologists, sociologists, and health personnel working within the prison system?
  • In the recruitment process for the aforementioned personnel, are there any criteria requiring knowledge and experience that are to be met on LGBT persons’ human rights and special needs?
  • Are there any awareness-building and violence prevention programs given to correctional officers and other inmates on combating stereotypes based on sexual orientation and gender identity, exclusion and violence?


Human Rights vs. LGBT Rights

Source: Çiçek Tahaoğlu, “İnsan Hakları vs LGBT Hakları,” (“Human Rights vs. LGBT Rights,”) Bianet, 28 December 2013,

Among the thousands of Syrians staying in Turkey, there are certainly many LGBTIs.

What they say to Syrian LGBTs in Syria and in the countries where they seek asylum is “Human life is priority, not gay rights.”

Naturally they then ask: “Ours is not “human” life?”


Transphobic Hate Crime in Mersin

Source: Baki Uguz, “Mersin’de Transfobik Nefret Saldırısı,” (“Transphobic Hate Crime in Mersin,”) Kaos GL, 24 December 2013,

A transsexual who works as a sex worker in the southern city of Mersin was attacked by a group of people with cleavers and sticks in the central district of Yenişehir. The trans woman was seriously injured due to the attacks and was taken to the emergency room of the Toros State Hospital.

A trans woman named Deniz was attacked by three unknown individuals on Monday night at around 8.30 PM, as she left her house and went to local bank Akbank at Pozcu, Mersin.


CHP Parliamentarian Melda Onur’s Comments in Meeting with US Ambassador to the UN Samantha Power

Source: LGBTI NEWS TURKEY,  simultaneous translation at event, 10 December 2013.

Melda Onur:

First of all we would like to thank you for this opportunity on this very important day, on human rights day. I am representing the main opposition party from Turkey, which is the Republican People’s Party.

Even though there is an ocean between Turkey and the US it is almost like we are neighbors. Both countries visit each other quite often and the president of the Republican People’s Party was just here. So I think everyone is following each other quite well. We are also sure that you have been following the rights violations in Turkey. These happen in various fields but the most important are the problems in the judiciary, in the freedom of expression, long detainment periods of parliamentarians as well as journalists.


Yet Again, No Place for LGBT people in the AKP’s “Human Rights Blanket Bill!”

Source: “AKP’nin ‘İnsan Hakları Torbası’nda LGBT’lere Yine Yer Yok!,” (“Yet Again, No Place for LGBT people in the AKP’s ‘Human Rights Blanket Bill!’,”) Kaos GL, 05 December 2013,

The conservative authoritarian Justice and Development Party (AKP) has not given up its perception of and complicity in the killings, evictions, and unemployment of LGBTI individuals as “a method to fight homosexuality.”

It turns out that the legislative aspect of what the Prime Minister Erdoğan announced as “the struggle against discrimination and hate crimes” was in fact nothing but a change in a single article of the Turkish Penal Code.


Homosexuality/ Faggotry is not an Insult but a Sexual Orientation

Source: SPoD, “Basına ve Kamuoyuna: Eşcinsellik / İbnelik Bir Hakaret Değil Cinsel Yönelimdir,” (“Homosexuality / Faggotry is not an Insult but a Sexual Orientation,”) 28 November 2013,

To the Press and the Public: Homosexuality/ Faggotry is not an Insult but a Sexual Orientation

LGBTIs got their share of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s aggressive style against women, various opposition groups, and minority groups.

Following the Prime Minister’s tweet of “I am a perfect Alevi,” LGBTI activist Levent Pişkin tweeted, “Waiting for the PM to declare, ‘I am a perfect fag. Obviously I will not learn how to be a fag from you.’” The Prime Minister filed a criminal complaint against Pişkin following that tweet, revealing once more the policy of exclusion and disregard towards LGBTI in the 11-year long Justice and Development Party (AKP) government.


2012 Report of Human Rights Violations Based on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity

Source: Sosyal Politikalar, Cinsiyet Kimliği ve Cinsel Yönelim Çalışmaları Derneği. (Social Policies, Gender Identity, and Sexual Orientation Studies Association) 2012 Cinsel Yönelim ve Cinsiyet Kimliği Temelli İnsan Hakları İhlalleri İzleme Raporu. (2012 Report of Human Rights Violations Based on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity.) Istanbul: Punto Baskı Çözümleri, 2013. Also available at:

For lesbian, gay, bisexual, and trans people, the year 2012 ended with various rights violations like previous years. In 2012, 11 hate crimes were committed. 6 transgender and 5 homosexual individuals lost their lives because of hate-motivated killings. 8 hate-motivated violence incidents were reported on the Internet and on LGBT news portals. It was a difficult year with lynching attempts, torture, ill treatment, domestic violence, rape and cyber attacks.

Under the “Discrimination” chapter of the report, 3 violations of the right to housing committed against transgender women were detected. In work life, 2 people started their legal struggles after they were fired for their sexual orientation. 4 people were not allowed to enter a place and to receive service because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. In health care services, the Turkish Red Crescent claimed that HIV-positive blood was obtained from a bisexual individual in the “HIV-Positive Blood” case. With the military’s redefinition of homosexuality leading the way, we have encountered discrimination in “state discourse” in 7 different events.

As LGBT associations, we have been working to monitor and report the human rights violations of LGBT people for the past seven years. When we compare the reports compiled since 2007, we observe that there is still no real change. The homophobic and transphobic implementation of law in ongoing cases, law enforcement agencies’ attitudes towards LGBT people, and new hate crimes still constitute a significant part of the reports.

The facts that Ahmet Yıldız’s case still has not closed, that “unjust provocation” reductions in penalties continue, and that killers are not caught are just a few of the problems detected… There were 11 violations of the right to life that were recorded in 2012. As LGBT associations, we will continue to follow the court cases on rights violations in the coming years. In this way, these cases will continue to be on the agenda of the human rights movement.

Human rights monitoring and reporting activities are performed by LGBT associations’ volunteer networks and employees. This may cause us to receive news of rights violations late or not be informed of them at all. For example, we were late to hear about the hate crime in Diyarbakır. We were also late to hear about the death of the young gay man in Ankara after his forced suicide. We are aware that there are rights violations, especially of the right to life, of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people that we have not or could not have heard.

Therefore, this report does not display the entirety of the human rights violations against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people in Turkey. These violations have many layers and the obligation to hide their sexual orientation and gender identity is one of them. Another aspect is the thought that they will be violated again when trying to access justice against violations based on sexual orientation and gender identity. At the same time, the inability to guess how their legal process will reflect on other parts of their lives is another facet. All these layers continue to make LGBT people defenseless and easy targets against violations and makes their victimization permanent.

Some of the categories under the “Hate Crimes” heading are ones that we have just started reporting on. The obstacles put in place in accessing the websites of LGBT associations from universities and the hacking of news sites by “religious” groups constitute are new fields of violation against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and trans people’s freedom of speech.

In 2012, lesbian, gay, bisexual, and trans people “faced lynching” in Çandarlı, Izmir and in Antalya. Lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans or heterosexual people were attacked due to homophobic and transphobic motivations. The perpetrators defended themselves by saying that the victims were homosexuals.

We emphasize that the long-established judicial practice of giving penalty reductions based on unjust provocation in hate-motivated killings of LGBTs have made LGBT people open targets and as mentioned above, perpetrators continue to be rewarded by the judiciary. As long as this implementation continues, LGBTs will continue to be targets.

This report is entitled “2012 Report of Human Rights Violations Based on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity.” Our problem of accessing the problems of homosexual and bisexual women and the discrimination and other human rights violations committed against trans men continue. As LGBT associations, we continue to think about ways to overcome this deficiency.

This report consists of 5 parts. In the first part, we assess Hate Crimes. The second part is on Discrimination and Hate Speech. In the third part, we present Ongoing Court Cases in 2013 and in the fourth part, we give place to Cases Concluded in 2012. The fifth part records Positive Developments. In the conclusion, we list the demands of LGBT organizations in the field of human rights.

Access the full report: 2012 SOGI Rights Violations in Turkey