You can’t call it a reform if the Penal Code excludes the LGBTI

Source: Yıldız Tar. 2014. “LGBTİ’siz TCK Düzenlemesine Reform mu Denir?” (“You can’t call it a reform if the Penal Code excludes the LGBTI”). Kaos GL. June 6, 2014. Accessed June 6, 2014.


Attorney Hülya Gülbahar evaluated the proposed changes to the Turkish Penal Code apropos sexual assault: “This is social engineering. LGBTIs are intentionally being forgotten, ignored. How can one call it a reform while excluding LGBTIs?”

The blanket bill* of changes to the sections of the Turkish Penal Code concerning sexual assault against women and children have been debated quite a bit and are still being discussed. Women’s rights organizations stated that the proposed changes will ease punishment for a number of crimes and will set free many rapists and abusers.

Flirt is becoming a crime

One of the problems under debate is the section of the proposed changes that increases prison sentences for relations between youths aged between 15 and 18. Women’s rights organizations have emphasized that this proposal “incorporates the act of flirting into the definition of a crime.”

The organizations stated that youth flirting and “underage and forced marriages” are two separate issues. “Neither the society nor the laws should be introduced to such a conceptual confusion on this issue. It is a shared responsibility for all of us to protect children from abuse; forbidding youth from expressing sexuality is a conservative policy that would produce new social rights violations.”

In the wake of the debates and the objections to the administration’s attempt at “conservatization” and “social engineering,” Attorney Hülya Gülbahar evaluated the proposal from an LGBTI perspective.

How can one call it a reform while excluding LGBTIs?”

Gülbahar, who noted that while the administration is discoursing about protecting women and children, it is actually enacting legislation in the opposite path, stated:

“Yet again, we are debating the Turkish Penal Code. The administration talks about ‘protecting’ women and children but there is no mention of crimes committed against LGBTI individuals! Yet, the Turkish Penal Code defines and regulates crimes. It is necessary for individuals to be protected from crimes while not being subjected to discriminatory practices. Yet, in this package of so-called “reformation,” there exists not a single word regarding LGBTIs. Just a few days ago,a defendant was rewarded with “provocation” and “good behavior” in the case of a trans murder. How can one call a proposed change in laws “reform”  when it does not incorporate the rights of LGBTI individuals, whose humans rights, including that of freely walking down the street, are being violated systematically?”

The same tune since 2005!

Gülbahar noted how sexual orientation and gender identity were excluded from the 2005 anti-discrimination law proposal:

“We experienced the same debate with the ruling party, the AKP, in 2005. We succeeded in adding an amendment against discrimination against LGBTI individuals to the proposed legal changes after intense struggle and extensive effort. But they removed this amendment from the final revision of that proposal… And so, not only were LGBTIs expunged from protection under the Turkish Penal Code, but also the society received a message that legitimized all forms of discrimination and violence against LGBTI individuals.”

LGBTIs are intentionally disregarded”

Gülbahar, who noted that LGBTIs are intentionally being disregarded, evaluated these practices as the product of a certain social engineering project and added:

“They are yet again effacing the topic in the package of Turkish Penal Code changes being debated in the parliament. This is because the desire is for the continuance of the ongoing discrimination and violence. Indeed, regarding sexual crimes, there exists in this proposal an open ended medicalizing emphasis of “illness” that may lead to surgical castration. With regards to theft and drug-related charges, the punishments are extremely heavy. These are the product of a social engineering project… It is also a necessity of such social engineering to maintain silence on all sorts of identity-based crimes against LGBTI individuals. An intentional forgetfulness/ disregard… A dangerous silence…”


Translator’s Note:

  • “Torba yasa tasarısı / değişikliği,” here translated as “blanket bill of changes,” is a type of proposed changes to laws and regulations on a range of diverse areas, rather than a specific legal issue. In Turkey, as in abroad, this political strategy is employed often when the proposed changes to law include controversial items that would not be approved by themselves or when some changes, often buried into the “bag of changes,” take away certain rights from citizens or enable governmental and/or corporate corruption, while others, often emphasized during the promotion of the “bag,” provide changes perceived to be positive.

Carolina’s letter dated 26.05.2014 and the refusal of bathroom visits as a form of abuse

Source: LGBT Hapiste, “Carolina’nın 26.05.2014 tarihli mektubu ve bir kötü muamele olarak tuvalete çıkarmama” (“Carolina’s letter dated 26.05.2014 and the refusal of bathroom visits as a form of abuse”), LGBT Hapiste, 29.05.2014,

Carolina wrote a new letter to our organization on 26.05.2014. In her three page letter, she talks about how she was denied trips to the bathroom even though she was taken to the hospital in the morning and was kept on the transport bus for hours. After knocking on the door of the transport bus for 45 minutes, the soldiers refused to let her visit the bathroom, saying “Are we going to take you to the men’s or women’s bathroom?” This clearly is a form of maltreatment and even torture. Carolina also attached a two-page report, issued by Istanbul Faculty of Medicine – Department of Psychiatry on 09.01.2012, which provides a response to the soldier’s question. In the report, it is decided that Carolina “be allowed to live in line with her female identity, roles and behaviors.”

We are sharing this letter, which represents a fitting example of maltreatment Carolina is being subjected to in her everyday life.


A transphobic assault in Mersin: “What are You Doing Out on a Holy Evening?”

Source: Yıldız Tar, “‘Mersin’de Transfobik Saldırı: “Kandilde Sokakta Ne İşin Var?’” (“A transphobic assault in Mersin: ‘What are You Doing Out on a Holy Evening?’”) Kaos GL, 26 May 2014,

A trans woman, Cansu, was assaulted with a bat in Mersin. The attackers’ excuse was the holy day [commemorating Prophet Muhammad’s ascent to heaven]: “What are you doing out on a holy evening?” And transphobia continued in the hospital too…

The most recent addition to hate crimes against trans people took place last night (25 May). A trans sex worker by the name of Cansu was attacked in Mersin, by a group of people, armed with a bat. The group’s excuse was the holy day commemorating Prophet Muhammad’s ascent to heaven. They attacked Cansu saying, “We will not allow you all to survive here.”

“What are you doing out on a holy evening?”

Cansu recounts her experiences as follows: “Three or four people got out of a car with bats in their hands. The license plate read 27. They attacked me saying, ‘Are you out on a holy evening too? What are you doing out on a holy evening? We will not allow you all to survive here. Get out. We will clean up our streets.’”

Police attitude following the attack was as usual. Instead of investigating the issue, they chose to ignore it. Yağmur Arıcan, president of the Mersin Seven Colors LGBT Association describes the police’s attitude for

“The police is trying to cover up the incident”

“The police is trying to cover up the incident. The first police squad that arrived after the assault did not even attend to the issue. They received the announcement, “a woman has been assaulted.” They came to check out what happened. When they saw that the assaulted person was a trans woman, they did not even care. Cansu was insistently reporting the license plate number and describing the direction to which they escaped but the police did not listen. They said, “You must be mistaken in what you saw.”

Transphobia continued at the hospital

The police did not even call an ambulance. Cansu’s friends took her to the hospital and transphobia continued there as well. The health personnel did not want to attend to Cansu upon realizing that she was a trans individual. When their attitude was met with negative reactions, they began to treat Cansu.

Cansu, who was suffering from multiple broken bones in her skull, was also subjected to transphobia on the part of other patients. Cansu recounts her experience in the hospital as follows: “They looked at me and they laughed. They kept pointing their fingers at me.”

Cansu was supposed to be kept under supervision overnight. However, due to the indifferent attitudes of the health personnel and transphobia in the hospital environment, she left. She was half-conscious when she arrived home. Cansu rested at home, suffering from nausea and the risk of internal bleeding…

Yağmur Arıcan explains that as the Mersin Seven Colors LGBT Association, they will follow up on this issue and go to the court. They will request MOBESE [city surveillance cameras] records from the police but it is doubtful whether the records will be shared or not.

“We will follow up on these assaults!”

This is not the first hate crime that took place in Mersin. Arıcan explains the situation in Mersin:

“Transphobia does not give us a break. Transphobia was resurrected in Mersin. They are trying to wipe us off of the streets. It just does not end. There have been assaults in Pozcu before. Trans people are constantly under attack. These are only incidents that are known to us. Many trans women are afraid of the police and so they do not report the incidents. Some believe that nothing will change if they sue. We will follow up on this issue and make sure that it is recorded as a hate crime. It must be accepted that this was a hate crime.”

Four hate murders in Mersin!

One of the assaults that Arıcan referred to had taken place in December. Sex worker Deniz had been attacked in Pozcu with bats and knives. Four trans murders have been committed in Mersin since 2006. None of them were recorded as hate murders and their perpetrators were not convicted as they should have been.

“Transvestite knifed while soliciting sex”

Source: Bülent Tatoğulları, “Travestiyi Yolda Müşteri Beklerken Bıçakladılar,” (“Transvestite knifed while Soliciting Sex,”) DHA, 21 May 2014,

A transvestite nicknamed “Serap” (real name initials KY), who engaged in sex acts for money, was wounded in her right leg by an unidentified person in Antalya yesterday. KY, who was stabbed twice in her right leg, screamed “don’t shoot this; you unbalanced lot” at the journalists trying to photograph her.

The incident took place yesterday (20.05.2014) at 22:30 at 122 Sokak, Deniz Mahallesi, Muratpaşa. The transvestite KY, nicknamed “Serap” was stabbed in her right leg by an unidentified person. Onlookers reported the situation to the police and emergency medical services. The medical crew performed basic first aid in the ambulance. KY, who refused to be rushed to a hospital, was later taken by police to the Bahçelievler Police Center.

Quite angry at having her picture taken by journalists, KY screamed “don’t shoot this, you unbalanced lot.” The police have started their efforts on apprehending the stabbing suspect.

Translator’s Note:

This news story has been worded in a distinctly transphobic tone that is common in Turkish newspapers. The victim is repeatedly referred to by the initials of her male name and her chosen trans name “Serap” is purposefully presented as her “nickname.” The victim is also portrayed as a prostitute without any evidence and as being in the act of solicitation during the incident without a supporting witness account.


Avşa’s Letter: Transsexuals and Turkish Prisons

Zafer Kıraç and Mustafa Eren, “Avşa’nın Mektubu, Translar ve Türkiye Hapishaneleri” (“Avşa’s Letter: Transsexuals and Turkish Prisons”) LGBT Hapiste, 4 May 2014,

“Homosexuals are denied work in prison workshops; they are denied visits to the clinic; as well opportunities to exercise, go to the library, seek religious instruction, access theater, concerts or classes.Homosexuals are denied the right to breathe…”

“It is free to assault, pressure, physically or psychologically pressure, sexually assault, harass, threaten or insult homosexuals.” (Avşa)

Avşa, the trans inmate, has been exposed to abuses, ill treatments, harassments and rapes in prisons for years. She was brave to report these violations of rights to authorities by criminal complaints many times, but this only increased threats and attacks against her. Avşa wrote a letter to our organization (Civil Society in the Penal System Foundation – CISST) about what she has been through.

Avşa states that she has been incarcerated since 2006. She talks about the time in the Çorum L-type Closed Prison, where she went through harassment as well as oppression and psychological pressure. At first she filed a complaint about these wrongful acts but had to retract it after she was “threatened and harassed” by the prison administration. This was followed by the addition of another 4.5 years to her sentence due to “insulting an officer.”

She was then transferred to the Giresun E-type Closed Prison. As attacks against her continued, she was also subjected to “aggravated sexual assault” by a correctional officer. In other words, she was raped. She also brought this incident to trial and the Giresun Criminal Court sentenced the correctional officer, who had sexually assaulted Avşa, to 10 years and 6 months of imprisonment.

Avşa’s prison life became even more unbearable after her rapist correctional officer got  imprisoned by the court. She concludes:

“After this ugly and unpleasant incident became known in other prisons across the Black Sea Region, other officers started to harass and threaten me, I officially petitioned our Ministry of Justice. Due to security concerns I was relocated to prisons in other cities; first in Tokat, then Niğde, Gümüşhane and Bafra.”


“Faggots, do not organize in Malatya or else it will be bad!”

Yıldız Tar, “İbneler, Malatya’da Örgütlenmeyin Kötü Olur” (“Faggots, do not organize in Malatya or else it will be bad!”),, 2 May 2014,

On April 29, in Malatya, “unidentified individuals” assaulted and threatened a gay youth: Do not organize in Malatya or else the result will be bad!”

Attacks continue against  LGBTI people’s (lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and intersex) struggles for freedom, equality and existence.

A member of the Malatya Youth Initiative Against Homophobia and Transphobia was assaulted by “unidentified individuals” on April 29th in Malatya. The assailants seized the gay youth’s phone and threatened them: “Do not organize in Malatya, if you go further, we are not responsible for what happens.”

“Do not organize in Malatya; we are not responsible for what happens!”

Emir Çoban, the threatened person’s roommate and member of the Malatya Youth Initiative Against Homophobia and Transphobia, told what happened:

“My roommate left work to go home on April 29th. On his way home, at around 10:00 pm, they blocked his way. They held his arms; they asked for his phone and money. My roommate gave it to them. They then threatened my roommate. They said, “Do not organize in Malatya; if you go further, we will not be responsible for what happens.”


On The Nature of Trans Killings

Source: Dilara Çalışkan, “Trans Cinayetlerinin Niteliği Üzerine” (“On The Nature of Trans Killings”), Birgün, 27 April 2014,

It should be remembered that those who are responsible for the hate murders of trans people are also responsible for the rights violations committed against women, children, and all LGBTI individuals. They are responsible for the rights violations of any individual who does not conform to the idealized norm of the “Turkish citizen.”

In the last 8 years, 36 news items were published that began with the heading “We are shaken with yet another hate murder!” In the last one year, the number of articles beginning with the heading “We are shaken with yet another woman killing” was 214. These are only the ones we know about, the ones that were reported and officially recorded. We lost count of how many hate crimes are being committed, each one reminding us of the other, each inflicting deep cuts in our hearts, each prompting us to ask “is the next one going to be me?”

And every time, we get back up and say, again and again, that “It’s Enough!”, “This ought to be the last one!”, that we know the killers well. And it is very annoying that we can fully understand who Çağla’s killer is and where he is coming from, who, calmly, comes down the ladders of the building and ties his shoelaces, as shown in surveillance cameras.

It seems that watching how easy it is to end a life reminds us, very painfully, to what extent trans killings and woman killings are political.


Çağla Joker’s Suspected Murderer Apprehended & Çağla’s Murderer Turned Out To Be a Child

Çağla Joker’s Suspected Murderer Apprehended

Source: “Çağla Joker’in Katili Yakalandı” (“The Murderer of Çağla Joker Apprehended”) Özgür Gündem, 25 April 2014. Accessed 27 April 2014.

The murder suspect who killed Çağla Joker and wounded Nalan has been apprehended.

Çağla Joker was gunned down and her friend Nalan was wounded in a home attack on April 21 in Daracık Street, Tarlabaşı, Beyoğlu, Istanbul. H.T., who escaped after his attack, was apprehended in Istanbul and taken to the Istanbul Police Headquarters. In his confession, H.T. said that he had gone to Joker’s home for sex and shot Joker and her friend upon learning that they were trans.


“Instead of a Separate Prison, Conditions in Current Ones Should Be Improved”

Source: “LGBTİ’lere Ayrı Cezaevi Yerine Koşulları İyileştirsinler” (“Instead of a Separate Prison, Conditions in Current Ones Should Be Improved”), 20 April 2014,

The debate for “separate prisons” for LGBTI inmates continues. “Isolation is already a part of prison life. Their priority should be preventing harassment of inmates by correctional officers”, “Instead of a separate prison, conditions in existing ones should be improved.”

The public discussion on the project to build separate prisons for LGBTI (lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and intersex) individuals still continues in the press.  A reporter from the daily “Milliyet”, Aydil Durgun, asked the organizations Kaos GL, Hêvî LGBTİ, T-Der and SPoD LGBT for their thoughts on the debate started by the Ministry of Justice.

“Isolation is already a part of prison life”

Hayriye KARA, Attorney at Law (Kaos GL): “In Turkish Prisons, LGBTI individuals are already segregated due to their sexual orientations and sexual identities. They are, in a way, re-imprisoned in the prison population. Especially trans inmates are segregated citing “security” concerns. They are isolated, shunned and deprived of social activities. They are also kept from working; thus, left without income for personal items during their sentence.  Besides, Turkey has already been condemned by the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) for its present treatment of LGBTI inmates.”

“There is no mention of rights violations committed by correctional officers.”

“Planning a separate prison project for LGBTI inmates before even considering improving the existing conditions in prisons is only a step to further isolate LGBTI individuals from society. Instead of combating social prejudices and striving for the human rights of LGBTI individuals, the government plans to build a separate prison not unlike a concentration camp citing ‘the security of LGBTI people.’

There is no mention of rights violations by correctional officers or ways to fight these occurrences in the project description. This proves their sincerity on the so-called ‘security’ aspect. A separate LGBTI prison is only another way to isolate, brand, expose and discriminate. This application is brazenly in violation of human rights as well as local and international laws. It is the institutionalization of the discrimination against LGBTI individuals.”


Transphobic Hate Murder in Istanbul, Police Protect Killers

Source: Yıldız Tar, “Daracık Sokak’ta Katiller Vurdu, Polis Koruyor,”(“Transphobic Hate Murder in Istanbul, Police Protects Killers,”), 22 April 2014,

Two trans women were assaulted in the district of Tarlabasi in Istanbul last night. While 21-year-old Cagla (Joker) lost her life, Nalan who was injured on her shoulder is receiving treatment.

Istanbul LGBTT Association protested the armed assault today. The assault took place on Daracik Street in the gentrification district of Tarlabasi, Istanbul last night.

Didem recounted the attack: “The police and ambulance staff did not even touch the dead body of our friend. We carried her.”

Istanbul LGBTT Association has condemned the transphobic armed attack and said: “We are transvestites, we are here, get used to it, we are not going anywhere.”

Didem talked about the attack to and stated that other trans women nearby heard gun shots and two people ran way from the apartment. Didem said:

“I learned that they first drew a knife on Joker. That she called Nalan for help. At that moment they shot Joker in the chest. She went to the window and asked for help. In the meantime, the murderers ran away towards Istiklal Street.”

Emphasizing that the murder might have been for a robbery, Didem said “Joker was found dressed in the living room. It might have been an aggravated robbery.”

“They did not want to touch the dead body of our friend, we carried her”

Attitude of the police and health workers came as no surprise: “The police came and did not do anything; just looked around a bit. They did not even question anyone properly. And the ambulance did not want to carry our friend. We took her down from  the apartment on our own.”

What if the family rejects the funeral?

As she said that they had to carry their friend themselves, Didem was moved to tears and she adds: “They did not even close her eyes. We did. What her family will do is not known yet. If they do not accept the funeral of our friend, we will perform it but the state might not approve.”

Another assault took place a few days ago! 

Didem recalls another armed attack that took place a few days ago at the Omer Hayyam stop. She believes that assaults can be prevented through trans solidarity. Having been exposed to transphobic hate attacks herself, Didem criticizes the indifference of the police and impunity.

Following the murder, Istanbul LGBTI Association made an urgent call and gathered with photos of Joker at the street where the murder took place and repeated the slogan “We are transvestites, we are here, get used to it, we are not going anywhere.”

Trans Inmate on Hunger Strike: “I don’t want to die!”

Source: Yıldız Tar, “Açlık Grevindeki Trans Mahpus: Ölmek istemiyorum!” (“Trans Inmate on Hunger Strike: ‘I don’t want to die!’”), 10 April 2014,

Avşa, a trans inmate on hunger strike for the last 60 days, has told of the sexual assault, violence and isolation she has been put through during her incarceration. “I have been hungry for 60 days and I don’t want to die. Because I was jailed before I had a chance to flourish.”

Avşa, one of the trans inmates in Bafra T-type Prison who went on hunger strike due to various violations of her rights, wrote a letter to Kaos GL, an LGBTI solidarity organization,  about her experiences in prison.

Avşa reports that she has been subjected to systematic sexual harassment and violence, which is why she has been on hunger strike for the last 60 days. She has recently been transferred from Bafra to Kocaeli Prison. She has lived through countless infringements to her rights during this time.

In 2009, Avşa was first subjected to sexual abuse by a correctional officer during her time in Giresun Correctional Facility. She took her experiences to court with sufficient evidence and the assaulting officer got sentenced to imprisonment by the Giresun Criminal Court. Avşa, on the other hand, was relocated to the Tokat Correctional Facility considering lack of safety.


Prison Sentences for the Cyber Attack on the Website!

Source: “ Sitesine Yönelik Saldırıya Hapis Cezası!” (“Prison Sentences for the Cyber Attack on the Website!”), 20 March 2014, 

Two individuals received six months in prison each for carrying out cyber attacks on the news and association websites of Kaos GL in 2012.

The public prosecution case regarding the April 2012 cyber attacks on the Kaos GL Association’s websites has concluded.

Six Months in Prison for the Two Assailants

A public prosecution case was opened against A.K. and R.V. – both under 18 at the time of the crime, which included tampering with, destroying, or denying access to data in information systems, as well as the insertion of data to the system (Turkish Penal Code 244/3). The offenders were sentenced to six months in prison.

The court case was initiated when the Kaos GL Association filed a criminal complaint against the above-mentioned persons in accordance with items 216, 243 and 244 of the Turkish Penal Code.

The investigation was able to identify the IP addresses used by the attackers. It was also discovered that those using these addresses were the children at these destinations.


Kızılay Shopping Mall: We Do Not Allow People of Your Kind to Enter!

Source: Ömer Akpınar, “Kızılay AVM: Sizin Türdeki İnsanları Almıyoruz!” (“Kızılay Shopping Mall: We Do Not Allow People of Your Kind to Enter!”), 20 February 2014,

Trans women were not allowed in the central shopping mall in Ankara, Kızılay Shopping Mall, due to an arbitrary decision by the administration.

“President’s Directive Does Not Allow You In”

Yesterday evening two trans women, Asena and Hazal, who went to meet their friend Yasmin at Ankara’s “Kızılay Shopping Mall” shopping mall were stopped by private security at the entrance. The security chief justified the situation by saying that “President Gül has a directive that prevents people of your kind getting in.” Asena and Hazal left the scene without making any complaint about the violation.


The Mother of Murdered Trans Woman: I Condemn the People Who Do Not Employ Our Daughters

Source: Yıldız Tar, “Öldürülen Transın Annesi: Kızlarımıza İş Vermeyenleri Kınıyorum” (“The Mother of Murdered Trans Woman: I Condemn the People Who Do Not Employ Our Daughters”), Kaos GL, 06 January 2014,

We talked with Melek Okan, the mother of İrem Okan who was the victim of a transphobic hate crime in Bursa in 2010: “I still have contact with the other daughters. One of our daughters has recently undergone surgery. I hatefully condemn the people who do not employ our daughters. Remember not only İrem but also Ecem who was killed a year later.”


A Transsexual in Gaziantep University

Source: “Gaziantep Üniversitesi’nde Bir Transseksüel,” (“A Transsexual in Gaziantep University,”) Gaziantephaberler, 05 January 2014,

Taha Tufan, a student at Gaziantep University (GAUN) Physical Education and Sport Academy, disclosed that he is exposed to discrimination at the university because of his gender identity. Tufan said, “They feel uncomfortable towards the organization of LGBTs. They want to make sure that everyone is the same. They can’t tolerate different people.”