Yasemin Öz

Kaos GL publishes “LGBTI People’s Freedom of Expression on the Internet” Report

Just published is a research report by lawyer Yasemin Öz, “LGBTI People’s Freedom of Expression on the Internet,” concerning internet statutes and regulations, and censorship directed at LGBTI people.

Source: “‘LGBTİ’lerin İnternet Yoluyla İfade Özgürlüğü’ raporu yayınlandı” (“Report published: ‘LGBTI People’s Freedom of Expression on the Internet'”), Kaos GL, 16 October 2015, http://www.kaosgl.com/sayfa.php?id=20358

The Kaos GL Association, continuing its efforts in Internet freedom, censorship, and discrimination on the internet, has published the report “LGBTI People’s Freedom of Expression on the Internet.”

The report, prepared by lawyer Yasemin Öz, examines the effect of Internet regulation and laws on freedom of expression. Featured in the report are blocked web sites with LGBTI content, the legal process, and a survey of statutes and regulations.

The results of the report reveal that in Turkey, statutes and regulations concerning the content of internet publications and the allocation of domain names is not aimed solely at LGBTI individuals, but in a general sense constitutes a threat in the area of freedom of expression.

“Obscenity,” “public order,” and “morality”

The examples evaluated in the report demonstrate that by means of vague concepts like “obscenity,” “public order,” and “morality,” the way has been paved for the broad application of blocking authority.

Including six chapters, the report begins with a general discussion of freedom of expression on the Internet in Turkey. In the subsequent sections of the report, the relationship between LGBTI people’s freedom of expression and the internet, the statutes and regulations concerning Internet use, examples of blocking access to Internet sites with LGBTI content, censorship applied by global Internet sites to LGBTI people in Turkey, and legal recourse had by LGBTI organizations in connection with restrictions on their freedom of expression on the Internet are successively featured.

At the end of the report are found the Association’s recommendations and the text of “Feminist Principles on the Internet,” prepared by Kaos GL’s Internet freedom project-partner APC (Association for Progressive Communications).

Laws should be designed so as not to discriminate

At the conclusion of the report it is made clear that in order for freedom of expression, guaranteed by the Constitution of the Turkish Republic and international agreements to which Turkey is a party, to be effectively used in practice, there is a need to reformulate the legal provisions granting authorities the power to restrict Internet access so as, without leaving any room for vague criteria, not to make way for discrimination.

You can access the report in its printed form through the Kaos GL Association.

For the Turkish version, click here.

For the English version, click here.

Kaos GL’s Internet-related efforts

Kaos GL, which, with its four-day “New Media School,” brought together over 20 volunteer correspondents from 14 cities last May, also organized in September the meeting [“Virtual-Reality Aficionados Get Together”] in order to establish a network in connection with Internet freedom. On 12-13 September, representatives of LGBTI organizations from various cities met in the hall of the Association for Civil Society in the Penal System (CISST) in order to discuss Internet activism and to seek together the ways of engaging in the fight.

*This research has been financed by the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA) within the scope of the “Sexual Rights Project,” of which the Kaos GL Association is a partner. The “Sexual Rights Project” is a project run by the Association for Progressive Communications (APC) with partners from India, Indonesia, South Africa and Turkey. Financial support by the APC and SIDA does not mean that they agree with the ideas set forth in this publication.

Kaos GL and Pink Life’s Criminal Complaint Against Posters and Online Statements Calling for Massacring LGBTs

Kaos Gay and Lesbian Cultural Research and Solidarity Association and Pink Life LGBTT Solidarity Association is filing a criminal complaint with the Information Technology Bureau of the Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office regarding the group Young Islamic Defense’s statement issued on their website and the posters posted throughout Ankara streets which quote a hadith by the prophet Muhammad calling for the massacre of LGBT individuals. Attorneys Hayriye Kaya, Yasemin Öz, and Oya Aydın are accusing Global Analysis (Küresel Analiz), the content provider for the website, for violating constitutional rights and relevant legislation in the Turkish Penal Code regarding inciting hatred and provocation to crime. Below are key points underlined in the complaint:


  • The LGBTIs have been characterized as “THE PEOPLE LIVING THE SUMMIT OF IMMORALITY” and were made the target of homophobic and transphobic hate and violence in the article entitled “Remains of the Tribe of Lot” published in the website www.gencislamimudafaa.com on 6 July 2015.

In the relevant article it was stated that:

The march of the organization entitled ‘LGBT’, that we are ashamed even to write the long form thereof, has once again proven us that the remains of the Tribe of Lot are still present in this day and age. These people living the summit of immorality also made sure to ridicule the names of the holy Three Months, namely ‘Rajab, Sha’bān and Ramadan’. We could not have remained indifferent, in the God’s righteous path, to this deprived march in the void cause. We showed effort both to raise awareness of our society and to do a small portion of our part. By putting up our posters on this matter to some areas, we shared the hadith ‘If you see the one carrying out the Tribe of Lot’s dirty work, kill the doer and the done!’ mentioned in Tirmidhi and Abu Dawood, with our society in order to show that the Muslims must not stay silent about this and that Islam strictly forbids this matter. Our wish is that we learn the conduct Islam requests from us, in the light of the Quran and Sunnah, instead of learning it from the preachers who cannot scream the truth on televisions.”

Below the statement, there were photographs of the posters (Annex-1) stating “If you see the one carrying out the Tribe of Lot’s dirty work, kill the the doer and the done” that were put up in various areas.


There is an explicit call for the murder of LGBT individuals justified by religious references in the statement on the website  and the posters (as shown in the photographs below the statement).

  • Article 214 of the Turkish Penal Code entitled “Provoking Commission of Offense” states:

(1) The person who provokes a crime shall be punished by imprisonment for six months to five years.

(2) The person who provokes a section of society to arm itself and kill another section of society shall be punished by imprisonment for 15 to 24 years.

(3) In the event of said crimes being committed, the person who provokes the crime shall be punished as the person who enables the crime.

As explained above and as can be seen in the internet print outs attached to our petition, through this statement and posters, a call is issued to Muslims not to be spectators to “immorality” but to kill LGBT people.

  • The right to life is a basic human right. The right to life and the material and spiritual integrity of a person is guaranteed in international covenants and the Constitution. Article 2 of the European Convention on Human Rights also emphasizes the right to life as one of the most fundamental provisions.


Turkey’s LGBTI File Criminal Complaints for Attacks Against Istanbul Pride- Hear Them Out!

Turkey LGBTI

“We are here today to make a complaint against the Governor of Istanbul, Minister of Interior Affairs, General Chief of the Police in Istanbul and Istanbul police who attacked the protestors at the gay pride on 28th of June”, says lawyer and LGBTI rights advocate Yasemin Öz. Behind her looms the giant complex of the Caglayan Justice Palace. Though LGBTI activists doubt that the perpetrators of the violence against Istanbul Pride will be brought to justice, they vow to use every legal mechanism at their disposal.

Pride is a special day for Turkey’s LGBTI, who regularly face discrimination in all aspects of social life, if they are not already victims of hate crimes. University student and drag queer Madır Öktiş says, “Pride is the day I can express my pride with almost a hundred thousand people like me and it’s the only day I can, you know, I can feel that solidarity, that strong”.

Madır was getting ready to join the parade when they heard that police attacked pride-goers. They wore a pom pom hat and a hundred per cent gorgeous t-shit and “A police officer told me that I could not walk in with that outfit”.

Until this year, twelve Istanbul Pride Parades passed without incident. LGBTI activist and academic Volkan Yilmaz says, “I wasn’t expecting any attacks on Sunday because even after Gezi protests we could make the march happen so after the attacks, actually, I was a bit surprised and I started to think about why it happened now and it turned out to be that it’s about Ramadan month”.

Last year’s Pride also coincided with the month of Ramadan when an estimated ninety thousand people marched without police interference. But this year, there was a significant rise in the visibility of the LGBTI rights movement and a corollary increase in hate speech from both public officials and conservative media.

Veteran activist Şevval Kılıç says, “this is a big step, that we are threatening the system, we are a movement, a big huge movement, and of course some people are afraid of this, some people are afraid of changing, going forward”.

Volkan thinks the attacks may have happened “because of media provocations and the new governor of Istanbul is a bit more conservative than the other guy and this happened this year”.

At least 78 people were wounded in the police intervention against Pride. One person is in risk of losing an eye. The Governor stated that proportionate force was used against the demonstrators after they refused to disperse.

Boysan Yakar, a prominent LGBTI activist and advisor to Sisli Municipality Mayor, was among the wounded and filed a criminal complaint for battery charges. He says, “I was beaten by the police while I was trying to stop the violence of power at the very first beginning of the pride parade and at that moment we had the support of the MPs from two different parties, HDP and CHP, and when we were trying to stop the violence, police attacked many activists”.

Şevval takes issue with the Governor’s statement of proportionality. She says, “they just directly attacked us with plastic bullets, you know, there are thousands of ways that you can dismiss the crowd but they choose to attack us with plastic bullets”.

So far, 4 LGBTI associations and 68 individuals filed criminal complaints. They are filing criminal charges (PDF-Turkish) against Interior Minister Sebahattin Öztürk, Istanbul Governor Vasıp Şahin, Istanbul Police Chief Selami Altınok, and police officers involved in the attacks for the following crimes:

  • Offenses of Bodily Harm (Turkish Penal Code (TCK) Articles 86-87)
  • Torture (TCK Articles 94-95)
  • Torment (TCK Article 96)
  • Ill-treatment
  • Violence (TCK Article 108)
  • Exceeding the Limits of Authorization for Use of Force (TCK Article 256)
  • Misconduct in Office (TCK Article 257)
  • Executing Illegal Mandatory Provision and Order of the Supervisor (TCK Article 24)
  • Restriction of freedom of belief, conception, conviction (TCK Article 115)
  • Restriction of Right to Meetings and Demonstration Marches (Law No: 2911)
  • Offenses against Freedom (TCK Article 109)

As one of the seven lawyers submitting the complaints, Yasemin Öz says, “I’m not hopeful about the Turkish state’s courts, especially when it comes to the ministers, police chiefs, and governors but we are hopeful about the constitutional court or otherwise the European Court of Human Rights”

But despite the lack of trust in the Turkish judicial system, Volkan Yılmaz says, “We have to do it to push the legal process a bit further”.

There was global outcry against the banning of Istanbul Pride and the violence that ensued. Boysan appreciates the global support and says, “It’s great to see that thousands of people are protesting right now throughout the country, from Korea, from Japan till the United Kingdom and United States as well and this is not only happening in the level of citizens. This is happening in the very high levels as well. Government to government it’s happening right now. It’s so important. And it’s great to see such solidarity throughout the universe”.

Yasemin calls for continued support for LGBTI in Turkey and the world. “We want the world to know that our basic right to free assembly has been violated by our own state so as the LGBT people and their friends, we have to unite where there is a violence against LGBT people because no state volunteers to protect LGBT rights. Many states in the world criminalize homosexuality and transsexuality”.

Tired but determined, Boysan says, “We are here, we exist, and they have to get over it”. This is how everyone, gathered in front of the Caglayan Justice Palace to seek justice, feels. They chant, “Gays will not be silent, they will not be silent, will not be silent”.

Zeynep Bilginsoy/ LGBTI News Turkey

Yasemin Öz: Legal Regulations Needed to Prevent Discrimination and Hatred Towards LGBT People in Turkey

Yasemin Öz, “LGBT Bireylere Yönelik Ayrımcılık ve Nefret Konusunda Gerçekleştirilmesi Gereken Temel Yasal Düzenlemeler,” (“Legal Regulations Needed to Prevent Discrimination and Hatred Towards LGBT People in Turkey,”) Turkish Policy Quarterly “Women’s Rights and LGBT Freedoms in Turkey” Presentation on 06 November 2013.

  • The regulations concerning LGBT people are limited in the Turkish judicial system. Even though homosexuality, bisexuality, transvestism, transsexualism are non-incriminating in the law, there are no regulations on the subject. Law makers choose to leave a legal loophole by not passing regulations. Nevertheless, there are limited positive and negative arrangements concerning LGBT people. There are also clauses that do not refer to sexual orientation directly but that can be used positively.


Yasemin Öz: If being a homosexual were a choice, nobody would choose this much oppression and violence.

Source: Aslı Öktener Köse, “Yasemin Öz: Eşcinsel olmak seçilebilseydi, kimse bu kadar zulmü ve şiddeti seçmezdi,” (“Yasemin Öz: If being a homosexual were a choice, nobody would choose this much oppression and violence,”) T24, August 13, 2013, http://t24.com.tr/yazi/yasemin-oz-escinsel-olmak-secilebilseydi-kimse-bu-kadar-zulmu-ve-siddeti-secmezdi/7211

Yasemin Öz: If being a homosexual were a choice, nobody would choose this much oppression and violence.

One of the groups at the forefront during the Gezi Park protests was the LGBT. We followed them closely with their creative banners, extraordinary chants and rainbow flags in their hands.

To better understand the place of the LGBT movement and homosexuals in Turkey, we talked to lawyer Yasemin Öz who was given the Felipa de Souza award by the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission this year.

Öz has had a significant role in the creating of legal reports and documents and the recording of rights abuses, as a part of the struggle for LGBT rights which she has been a part of for over 18 years. Contemporaneously she has also been one of the spokespersons and managers of the Justice for Pınar Selek campaign.

Chairman of the Board of Kaos GL Association Yasemin Öz, who defines herself as a ‘lesbian feminist’, talked to us about the Felipe de Souza award, being a homosexual in Turkey and the LGBT experience in Gezi.