Kaos GL and Pink Life: Ankara governor’s ban on LGBTI events illegal

Source: “Kaos GL ve Pembe Hayat: Valilik kararı hukuka aykırı,” Nov. 19, 2017, http://kaosgl.org/sayfa.php?id=24994

We learned that the governor’s office of Ankara bannedfrom November 18, 2017 onwards, activities of LGBTT-LGBTI organizations such as film screenings, cinevision, theater plays, panels, talks, exhibitions which include certain social sensitivities and sensibilities” via its website.

We will follow legal proceedings on the governor’s illegal, discriminatory and arbitrary ban. There can be no legitimate or legal grounds for such a wholesale ban that touches the core of rights.  

In an omnibus ban with a very wide scope, we are facing a situation that is vague, open to interpretation and rights violations, criminalizing LGBTI existence. LGBTI civil society organizations are respectable institutions working for years to combat discrimination and hate crimes for equal citizenship. This ban, which goes beyond limiting the areas of activity of these institutions and making them inoperable, cannot be accepted in a democratic society.   

Ankara governor’s office’s grounds for the omnibus ban, including the phrases “protecting public health and morality,” “social sensibilities and sensitivities,” “public security” and “protection of other people’s rights and liberties” are clearly discriminatory. This decision legitimizes rights violations and discrimination against LGBTIs.

This decision and the illegal and vague grounds for it violate the very fundamental freedom of expression and association as well as other fundamental rights and freedoms. With this ban, fundamental rights have been interfered with in their essence.

Ankara governor’s office’s decision to ban violates our constitution’s Article 10 on equality and Article 26 on freedom to announce and disseminate thoughts, as well as international agreements Turkey is party to.  

With this announcement the civil administration is endangering public safety by turning LGBTIs and civil society organizations, who are an important part of the public, into targets instead of fulfilling its duty to ensure public security.  

We expect this decision to be rethought and withdrawn in the shortest amount of time. In our country where discrimination and hate based on sexual orientation and gender identity is rampant, it is the duty of national and local administrations to combat this discrimination and hate.

 

Official statement: Ankara governor’s office bans LGBTI events

Screen Shot 2017-11-19 at 14.19.13

Source: Ankara Valiliği, “Yasaklama Kararına İlişkin Basın Duyurusu,” November 19, 2017, http://ankara.gov.tr/yasaklama-kararina-iliskin-basin-duyurusu-19112017

Press Statement Regarding the Ban Decision

It has been noticed through various social media and print and visual media outlets that in different locations around our city activities such as film screenings, cinevision, theater plays, panels, talks, exhibitions etc. which include certain social sensibilities and sensitivities by various civil society organizations under the name of LGBTT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transsexual or transvestite) and LGBTI (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex) are scheduled.

It was decided that the aforementioned social media shares might deliberately incite a certain segment of society with different characteristics of social class, race, religion, sect or region against another segment of society, that this might lead to imminent peril with regards to public security, that also it can harm the protection of other people’s rights and liberties, public health and morality as well as of public order, prevention of crime, and therefore there may be reactions and provocations against the groups and individuals taking part in the organization due to certain social sensibilities.

Due to these circumstances, from November 18, 2017 onwards, activities of LGBTT-LGBTI organizations such as film screenings, cinevision, theater plays, panels, talks, exhibitions which include certain social sensitivities and sensibilities in various locations around our city are banned by our Governorship, based on the Article 11/C of Law Of Provincial Administration No 5442, within the scope of measures to be taken for the provision of peace, security, right to physical integrity and the public order, following Article 17 of Law No. 2911 on Assembly and Demonstration Marches and Article 11/F of Law No. 2935 on State of Emergency.

We respectfully announce the ban to the public.

Istanbul LGBTI+ Pride Committee calls on friends to support activists at trial

Thousands of LGBTI+ individuals and rights defenders went out to the streets for the 15th Pride March, which was planned for June 25, 2017 but banned at the last minute. For the last two years, the Istanbul Governor’s Office has cancelled the march, claiming that “it might lead to provocative actions and disrupt the public order.” Twenty-five people were taken into custody that day but all of our friends in detention were released the same evening.

However in August, an indictment was prepared by the Istanbul Office of Chief Public Prosecutor against these 25 friends. The indictment charges them with violating Law No: 2911 Article 28/1 (“participating in an unauthorized demonstration.”) Following the indictment a lawsuit was filed against the 25 rights defenders.

We would like to announce that we will be following the trial, which is to take place on Nov. 16, 2017 at Istanbul Çağlayan Courthouse 48. Asliye Ceza Mahkemesi (48. Court of First Instance). We call all defenders of LGBTI+ rights to stand with us at this trial. It is an occasion to remind everyone that our Pride Marches where we repeat our demand for equal rights and the right to live cannot be tried in court.

We will be expecting our friends’ support at Çağlayan Courthouse on Nov. 16 at 09:00.

For more detailed information and contact:

Emre Demir: 0543 595 3670

 

Bianet: Sedef Çakmak is elected as the Chair of Rainbow Rose

LGBTI activist and Beşiktaş Alderwoman Sedef Çakmak is elected as Chair of the Executive Board of Rainbow Rose, the LGBTI network of Europe’s social democrat and socialist parties.

Source: “Sedef Çakmak is elected as the Chair of Rainbow Rose” (“Sedef Çakmak, Rainbow Rose Başkanı Seçildi”), bianet, http://bianet.org/bianet/lgbti/191068-sedef-cakmak-rainbow-rose-baskani-secildi, October 30, 2017.

Rainbow Rose, a network comprised of the LGBTI platforms established within the European social democrat and socialist parties, had its general assembly in Stockholm, Sweden.

The assembly meeting was held between October 27-29, and LGBTI activists Elif Avcı of Şişli Municipality’s Equality Unit and Beşiktaş Alderwoman Sedef Çakmak participated in the assembly representing the Republican People’s Party (CHP) of Turkey.

Rainbow Rose has been fighting for LGBTI rights since 2006 as a part of PES (Party of European Socialists), of which CHP is also a member. Çakmak was elected as the Chair of the Executive Board of Rainbow Rose.

“Alliance with other LGBTI organizations strengthens us”

Speaking to Yıldız Tar of Kaos GL Çakmak stated:

“In these days when Turkey is getting more and more authoritarian and when different voices are sought to be silenced, we recognize how strengthening it is for people living in Turkey to be in solidarity with other LGBTI organizations around the world. Aside from this, LGBTI struggles for rights do not only produce policies based on sexual orientation and gender identity but also on refugees, union rights, gender equality, rule of law, areas which have an impact on all sectors of society. In today’s world where the global flow of information has accelerated, I believe it would be lacking to make policies detached from the rest of the world.”

“Both as a Turkish citizen and a local politician who is an LGBTI activist, I hope that the fact that I was chosen as the Chair of the Executive Board of Rainbow Rose will play a part in transcending the increasing bias against our country abroad due to the malpractices of the government which undermine democracy.”

Çakmak was a CHP candidate in the 2014 local elections and has been an alderwoman in Beşiktaş Municipality since then. Çakmak is the first openly homosexual politician in Turkey.

Journo: Gay tourists taken into custody in Turkey and deported without any reason

Two gay tourists coming to Turkey from the United Kingdom were taken into custody upon their arrival at the airport without any justification and were deported.

Source: Burcu Karakas, “Eşcinsel turistler İzmir’de gözaltına alındı, gerekçesiz sınır dışı edildi,” Journo, 20 October 2017, https://journo.com.tr/escinsel-turistler-sinir-disi-edildi

Bilal Sadiq, the British citizen who was sent back to his country, said, “As far as we can tell, the officer who checked our phones did not like what he saw and did not let us in the country because we are gay. We are shocked.” Bilal Sadiq (28) a British citizen of Pakistani origin and Polish citizen Tomasz Pawel Walus (25) came to Izmir on Oct. 14 to visit a friend. A person approached them while they were waiting at the passport control line in Izmir Adnan Menderes Airport. The police officer dressed as a civilian asked them the reason for their visit to Turkey. Bilal Sadiq told Journo that the officer asked him of his origins, told them to get out of the line and wait elsewhere. Said said “We first thought he was asking questions for control purposes. Half an hour later another person in charge came and asked for our phones.”

‘When is Gay Pride Walk organized?’

Sadiq said that the officer read his WhatsApp messages after taking the phone and looking at the photos. “They realized that we are gay. Then he asked for my friend’s phone. He asked him questions too. Then we went to an office.” Sadiq reported that he was also asked if he and his friends were lovers. The young British man said that after he explained they were just friends, he was asked when the LGBTI Pride Walk in Turkey is organized:

“While asking this, they were showing the photos to each other and laughing. As I don’t speak Turkish, I didn’t understand what they were saying. They told us that we can’t enter Turkey and we have to go back to England. I was shocked when I heard this. This wasn’t the first time I came to Turkey but it’s the first time I experienced such a thing. I never had any problems before. They didn’t give any reasons either.”

‘No one gave any reason for the decision to deport’

Sadiq said that his friend Tomasz Pawel Walus asked why they were being deported after taking back the phones but received no reply, and that the officers became aggressive when they wanted a written document. “None of the authorities at the airport gave us a reason. We were where we were taken into custody. I was able to let my friends in Turkey know, they couldn’t believe what happened either” said the British tourist, explaining that the authorities wanted to send them back to their countries on the first flight but when the pilot did not accept them they had to spend the night in custody at the airport. When they were told that they would have to wait until Wednesday, the two friends suggested that they could go to another city besides London, but they were told that this was not possible, and that the procedure must be followed. Later they were told they can go elsewhere if they are willing to pay for themselves. The tourists had to buy a ticket to Munich, paying 2000 liras for a one way tickets and were deported on October 15.

‘Their attitudes changed after they looked at the photos’

They were told that their passport would be given to the pilot and they would be able to get them back after landing, but the airport authorities gave their passports back before they got on the flight. When they arrived Germany they thought they would be received by German authorities but that did not happen. Sadiq said “As far as we can tell, the officer who checked our phones did not like what he saw and did not let us in because we are gay.” Sadiq suggested that the officers changed their attitude after looking at the photos: “They were asking questions politely. Then they changed their attitudes and got rude. I wasn’t expecting this. It has been a terrible experience”.

The gay tourists also stated that they called the British Consulate but the consulate authorities told them they couldn’t do anything. Sadiq said that neither he nor his friend has any priors, that they haven’t filed any complaints about the deportation yet but are thinking of starting legal procedures.

 

 

 

Pink Life goes to Hamburg!

Pink Life QueerFest selection to be screened at International Queer Film Festival in Hamburg. The 28th Hamburg International Queer Film Festival (aka LSF/ Lesbisch Schwule Filmtage) will take place between October 17-22, 2017. Germany’s largest and longest-running LGBT film festival celebrates its 28th year as a volunteer-based and independent organization, with its principles of “autonomy, equality, and self determination”.  Here is the invitation to the selection of films from Ankara-based Pink Life QueerFest to be featured:

“A selection of Turkish short films from Ankara’s Pink Life QueerFest: TRANSVESTITES is a pioneering mockumentary on the highly problematic representation of trans* sex workers in the media. PRINCE CHARMING, DON’T COME IN VAIN, a collective audiovisual claim to the existence of lesbians in Turkey. Experimental and fascinating, OVER TIME tells the stories of four workers. In CHILD’S PLAY Derin hides an adult secret in the toy-box filled with her childhood memories. The documentary LGBTI IN THE HOOD reflects the LGBTI community’s perspective on their neighbourhoods. MOIRA is a tribute to three LGBTI* activists who lost their lives in a traffic accident in September 2015. And in fragments of a roundtable: pink life discusses archiving the Pink Life team gathers around a not-so-round-table and discusses the archives of the QueerFest.”

For more info please visit: https://www.facebook.com/events/315944492205182

Kaos GL: LGBTI billboards on the streets of Cyprus once more!

LGBTI awareness billboards are once more on the streets of North Cyprus after the attacks of last year!

kuirkibrispanolar.jpg

Source: Kaos GL, “Kıbrıs’ta bir kez daha LGBTİ billboardları sokakta!” http://www.kaosgl.org/sayfa.php?id=24490 September 1, 2017

The LGBTI awareness billboard campaign we launched last year in North Cyprus was attacked. Kuir Kıbrıs (Queer Cyprus) Association filled the streets once more this year with billboards for equality and freedom in spite of the attacks.

The new billboard campaign prepared within the scope of “Unspoken Project” (“Konuşulmayan Projesi”) was launched in order to call attention to the need for everyone to live as a human, without being othered or discriminated against based on their sexual orientation and/or gender identity.

The billboards bear explanations of sexual orientation and gender identities such as “lesbian”, “gay”, “heterosexual”, “transsexual” and “intersex”.

Transformation of prejudices such as homophobia, biphobia, transphobia is among the objectives of the campaign.

Attacks against last year’s campaign

Last year in November,  billboards which read “Brother Kamil, I’m lesbian” and “Auntie Mediha, I’m gay” were placed around Girne, Mağusa, Lefkoşa, İskele, Lefke ve Karpaz. However, the LGBTI awareness billboards  in the cities in North Cyprus were first attacked and then taken down by the municipality.

What’s the Unspoken/Konuşulamayan Project?

“Unspoken: Creating Dialogue on LGBTI Rights in the Turkish Cypriot Community” (“Konuşulmayan: Kıbrıs Türk Toplumunda LGBTİ Haklarıyla İlgili Diyaloğu Güçlendirmek Projesi”) aims to increase awareness of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex people in key sectors such as media, education, law and health; in order to struggle against the discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender, to create social change and [improve] public opinion and to ameliorate media representation in Turkish Cypriot communities.

Kuir Kıbrıs Association is a civil society movement conducting work struggling against discrimination agaınst sexuality, sexual expression, sexual orientation and gender identity. Kuir Kıbrıs actively works to support LGBTI rights in various fields such as law, education and psychology.