Bianet: The defendant who threatened LGBTIs and his lawyer do not show up in court

Trial began today for Alperen Ocakları Istanbul Provincial Chair Kürşat Mican, who made a call for violence directed at Pride Week participants. Neither Mican nor his lawyer attended the hearing. 

Alperen Ocakları (Alperen Hearths) are a far-right ultranationalist and Islamist youth group linked to the nationalist Great Union Party (BBP).

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Source: Çiçek Tahaoğlu, “LGBTİ’leri Tehdit Eden Sanık da, Avukatı da Mahkemeye Gelmedi,” Bianet, 18 May 2017, http://bianet.org/bianet/lgbti/186590-lgbti-leri-tehdit-eden-sanik-da-avukati-da-mahkemeye-gelmedi

The first hearing of a trial leveled at the Alperen Hearths’ Istanbul Provincial Chair Kürşat Mican for his threatening calls directed at Pride Week participants last year took place in the Kartal Judiciary’s 44th Penal Court.

Defendant in the trial Mican and his lawyer did not attend the hearing, but six people who were Alperen Hearths members and wore BBP badges came to observe the hearing. After six observers from Alperen Hearths entered the courtroom, only six people from [a group of] LGBTI rights advocates were let into the courtroom.

A decision was issued to forcibly bring to court Mican, who did not have justification for not attending the hearing.

Eight lawyers were at the ready for the trial, in which the Istanbul LGBTI Association, the Human Rights Association (IHD) and representatives from community centers joined as complainants.

The next hearing will take place on 5 October at 13:30.

Mican is being tried for the crime of “incitement of animosity and hostility or contempt” (Turkish Penal Code 216 / 1.2).

Defendant who made calls for violence had been tried before for torture

While saying that discrimination against LGBTI individuals was wrong, lawyer Eren Keskin emphasized that in the European Court of Human Rights, the only and most indicative criteria for speech constituting a crime is making calls for violence.

Keskin, while reminding [the court] that the defendant had been tried previously for torturing a person for eight days, demanded that Mican be held pending trial.

While saying that the calls for arrest were rejected at this stage, the court issued a decision to bring Mican to court forcibly for the next session. Mican did not have justification for not attending the hearing.

“A threat not only to LGBTI [individuals], but to all citizens”

Rozerin Seda Kip, one of SPoD LGBTI’s lawyers, requested to intervene in the case. Kip, who emphasized that SPoD [a non-governmental LGBTI organization in Turkey] had 400 LGBTI members, said that they had another file in which they were complainant against the defendant that was in the investigation stage.

Kip, who spoke to Bianet, explained that while the chief judge asked all complainants who gave statements, “Are you LGBTI?” the defendant’s calls were violent and a threat to not only LGBTI [individuals], but to all citizens in the country.

Kip said the following: “We remember the experiences of Pride Week like yesterday. We will pursue this trial. Many of our lawyer friends joined this trial. There will be even more of us in the next hearing.”

What happened?

Last year, prior to the 7th Istanbul Trans Pride March planned for June 19 and the 14th Istanbul LGBTI+ Pride March planned for June 26, a number of groups such as the Anatolian Muslim Youth and Alperen Hearths spread threatening messages and called for attacks of the marches.

While Alperen Hearths put together a press meeting in Üsküdar on June 14 at 22:30, [their] Istanbul Provincial Chair Kürşat Mican said that if the government did not block the marches, Alperen Hearths would block them as “representatives of the deep nation.”

On June 17, the Istanbul Governorship announced that it would not “give permission” to either one of the marches.

Istanbul LGBTI, the Human Rights Association (IHD), SPoD LGBTI, and the Pride Week Committee alongside individual activists turned to prosecution and filed a criminal complaint about the threats directed at the marches and the Governorship’s decision to ban the marches.

In the criminal charge prepared for Alperen Hearths Istanbul Provincial Chair Kürşat Mican, it is requested that Mican be punished for the crime of “incitement of animosity and hostility or contempt” (Turkish Penal Code 216 / 1.2).

Yeni Akit: Immoral march at METU! Their minds are not pursuing knowledge, but faggotry

Yeni Akit is a conservative daily newspaper that engages in hate speech against LGBTI people and other groups. This is a verbatim translation. 

Source: Yeni Akit, “ODTÜ’de ahlaksız yürüyüş! Akılları bilime değil ‘ib..eliğe’ çalışıyor,” 15 May 2017,http://m.yeniakit.com.tr/haber/odtude-ahlaksiz-yuruyus-akillari-bilime-degil-ibelige-calisiyor-327388.html

A group of homosexual, perverted students marched in heresy for “pride” at METU [Middle East Technical University], marking the 7th METU Pride March. This immoral march led to the comment, “their minds are not pursuing knowledge, but faggotry.”

The LGBT perverts signed off on yet another scandal, as they ignore the spiritual values of the Muslim Turkish nation and worked to normalize such immorality in Turkey. Homosexual perverts held the immoral pride march at METU, known as the address for scandals and as a safe haven for terrorist organizations. During the march, homosexual perverts again displayed immorally and were again chanting slogans. The march which began on the campus finished in the stadium.

The fact that METU fosters this kind of terror and immorality drew out the criticism “their minds are not pursuing knowledge, but faggotry.” Another question that has been raised, is when will the authorities stop this immorality that violates the national and spiritual values of the Muslim Turkish nation.

Istanbul LGBTI+ Pride Week Committee sues leader of far-right group for targeting Pride 2016

 

THIS IS OUR CALL!

On the eve of LGBTI+ and Trans Pride Marches in Istanbul on 2016, Alperen Hearths Istanbul Chair Kürşat Mican organized a press meeting and declared us to be “immoral,” threatening the marches. Mican’s statement that “We will never, ever allow such Immorality, like this march that is called “honor” but really it is immoral, that touch the nation’s nerves, to be normalized or encouraged” is deliberate hate speech directed against LGBTI+s’ struggle for honorable life and it can not be accepted. As LGBTI+s we are taking him to court!

As a result of our criminal complaint against him, Kürşat Mican will be tried on the charge of “inciting the public to hatred and animosity.” The first hearing is on Thursday, May 18, 13:30 at Kartal Courthouse 44. Court of First Instance. We are expecting all our friends to support our case at Kartal Courthouse on May 18, 13:30.

We will initiate a social media campaign with the hashtag #alışındavacıyız (#getusedtoitwesue) on May 16, 21:00, to make our voices heard and to stand by our Pride Week and our case.

We will be plaintiffs for all the injustice, pressure, and hate speech against us!

Get used to it, we are here, #alışındavacıyız!

Cumhuriyet: “Turkey’s first trans actress Ayta Sözeri: Because I fell in love”

“Love people, time is very precious” said trans actress Ayta Sözeri, who first shared that she was trapped in the wrong body with her mother.

44412Source: Zehra Özdilek, “Türkiye’nin ilk trans oyuncusu Ayta Sözeri: Çünkü âşık olmuştum,” Cumhuriyet, 2 May 2017.

Ayta Sözeri (40), is Turkey’s first trans actress. She is a concerted human rights activist. She is a singer we’ve seen on stage for a long time. We talked about life, acting, and upcoming projects with Sözeri, an actress who impressed screen directors with her roles in TV dramas such as Ulan Istanbul, Lost City, and Shattered.

-Tell us about yourself.

I was born in Germany, and moved to Izmir with my family when I was 6. I am a graduate of Ege University’s Business Administration department. My educational life took place entirely in Izmir. There are four of us siblings. I always wanted to be a singer. I became both a singer and an actress.

-Do you have memories that stand out from your childhood?

When I was a child, I would be happy whenever spring came around. I don’t know if children today play, but we would play in the neighborhood until 12 at night. There were some games I did not know how to play. For example, when we first moved from Germany I did not know how to play hide and seek. I can also never forget the Sunday breakfasts we had as a family.

Sensing is always the same…

-When did you realize you were trapped in the wrong body?

However old you were when you noticed that you belonged in your body, that is when I realized I did not. I think that everyone can ask themselves this question. When was it that you realized that you were heterosexual, when you liked your body, when did you notice these things, that’s when I also realized them. I did so right around the age when everyone starts noticing these things…

-How did you tell your family?

This has a bit to do with courage, you say it however you choose to say it. Of course, there are people who have not been able to say these things. I also had moments when I thought “how can I say it,” but it comes to you and you say it. My breaking point was love. I was in love with someone and did not know what to do about it, so I felt the need to tell someone. So I told my mother.

Inside the art…

-Starting acting…

I actually was not interested in acting, but I realized in middle school that I was not going to be a singer, and because I still wanted to be in the art world, I decided to pursue acting. I told myself, at least I’ll act in city theater or school theater. Of course, when it became obvious that I had a good voice and could sing, acting went on the backburner. Until then, I’d been in a number of plays. I acted at the Levent Kırca Theater, for what seems like years of training to me. Mustafa Şevki Doğan said he wanted to have me act when he heard me singing, while I was singing he said “you’ll act.” I acted in
Life Bonds and they told me “definitely do not leave acting”…

-Which character is most difficult to for you to bring to life when acting?

In the film
Surrender, acting the part of a transexual sex worker was difficult for me. Because it’s an area that I really do not know.

 

The mental map has changed

-Have there been moments when you’ve fallen into despair?

Yes, there have been. I fought for 12, 13 years. I acted in small roles. At the point when I said nothing will happen for me,
Lost City happened. Much like the mental shifts that happened in the way people think about LGBTI people in Lost City, many things have changed in my life as well.

Our lives are in danger

-Each year attempts are made to hinder the Pride Parade. Why are they trying to block this?

They say you can not do this walk due to security concerns. They accept that we live in a country where our safety is not guaranteed. For us LGBTIQs, we are not in a safe country, our lives are in danger. Given that they know this, instead of obstructing the march, why don’t they help protect our rights and bring about laws that will give us positive discrimination. I want to say to them that even with the excuses that they hold onto, they know how much danger we are in yet they are doing nothing.

By loving, it will change

– Are there new projects on the horizon?

There are, we’ll be together again for this new season. I’ll be a guest star on Mustafa Şevki Doğan’s new drama. I am with the director who discovered me. I’ll be playing a woman whose heart is full of goodness.


– What is your message to those who read these words?

I have one message: love people, time is very precious. Be assured that everything changes with love.

The 25th Istanbul LGBTI+ Pride Week Wants Your Support

Istanbul LGBTI+ Pride Week, first organized under the name of “Sexual Freedom Week,” is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year. You can support the week, which is organized by a group of volunteers each year, both financially and by sending your event suggestions.

Istanbul LGBTI+ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, Intersex, Plus) Pride Week will take place between 19-25 June 2017.

In 1993, “Sexual Freedom Week” was banned by the governor’s office, the week’s events and the Pride March were not allowed, activists were detained, and international guests were deported. In the following years, Pride Week faced other prohibitions but continued to host events. Despite the bans, the movement’s demands and the social support it received grew and the first Istanbul Pride March took place in 2003, exactly 10 years after the start of Pride Week. The first march had 20-30 people and this has multiplied every year. In 2013, an estimated 100,000 people joined the march on Istiklal Avenue. In 2015 and 2016, Pride Marches were, unexpectedly, prevented by police. But the LGBTI+ movement, prepared to keep up its struggle, “dispersed” across Istiklal Avenue and throughout Istanbul for the 14th Pride March.

This year, LGBTI+ people and opponents of homophobia/biphobia/transphobia will celebrate the 25th year of being together, visibility of LGBTI+ people, and the continued struggle for rights. They will tell the story of growing from 30 people to tens of thousands, they will listen, and they will rewrite.

If you would like to support Pride Week…

This year’s Pride Week volunteer organizers are calling for everyone to rally in support of Pride Week! As in the past, Pride Week expenses are largely covered by the fundraising efforts of our supporters. Those who can provide financial support to help make Pride Week a success, please donate by visiting the Istanbul Pride Week fundraising campaign on Indiegogo.

Open call for artists to exhibit during Pride Week…

The Pride Week exhibition “Nerdeen Nereye,” which holds the belief that the personal is political, and the political is personal, will take place during the 25th Annual Istanbul LGBTI+ Pride Week and is calling for artwork from all fields that fit within the theme of “Geography,” both in terms of bodies and lands. Artists who would like to have their work included in the exhibition, taking place at GalleriBu from June 17th – July 8th, should send all inquiries and applications to nerdeennereye@gmail.com by May 31st.

Pride Week organization meetings continue…

Responding to the call every year, Pride Week organizers are made up of an independent group of volunteers. This body takes decisions jointly, and operates within an anti-hierarchical and anti-violence solidarity model. Those who would like to support Pride Week programming, including panels, forums, workshops, plays, film screenings etc., are invited to send in their proposals to istanbulpride@gmail.com by May 14th. For those who wish to join Pride Week as a volunteer, Pride Week meetings are held every Wednesday in Taksim.

What will happen during the Istanbul LGBTI+ Pride Week?

Each year the week is organized around a central theme — previously including Attention Family!, Taboo, Memory, Resistance, Interaction, Normal and last year We are organizing! The events are free of charge and open to all. This year in forums, panels, plays, and movies, we will discuss topics in the LGBTI+ agenda like health, visibility, and constitutional rights, and we will also discuss alternative ways to weave political togetherness amid the state of emergency and increasing pressures.

If you believe “if you’re not here, we’re one too few!” make your donation to support the Istanbul Pride Week at the link below.

https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/2017-istanbul-lgbti-pride-week-lgbt#/

For Interviews and Special News Requests: Emre Demir 0 (543) 595 36 70 / istanbulpride@gmail.com

http://tr.prideistanbul.org

Editor’s Note: The Istanbul LGBTI+ Pride Week Commission added the “+” last year stating that “we are aiming to socialize the consciousness that all combinations of the rainbow exist and that one cannot assign an identity to anyone by looking at them from the outside.”

Kaos GL: 5 LGBTI activists arrested for different reasons in April

5 LGBTI activists from Diyarbakır, Istanbul, and Izmir who carried out the “No” campaign against the constitutional change that was voted upon on April 16 and who protested the questionable outcome of the referendum were arrested for different reasons.

Source: “Nisan ayında 5 LGBTİ aktivisti farklı gerekçelerle tutuklandı” (“5 LGBTI activists arrested for different reasons in April”), Kaos GL, 25 April 2017, http://www.kaosgl.org/sayfa.php?id=23611

The referendum on constitutional changes has been voted upon but human rights violations have not stopped. Detentions and arrests directed at those who carried out the “No” campaign throughout the referendum period and pressure towards those who have brought attention to the possibility of a questionable outcome in the referendum and taken to the streets are ongoing.

LGBTI activists are also among those protesting the referendum results and the Supreme Electoral Council’s decision to count unsealed ballots as valid. Some were detained upon taking to the streets to draw attention to the irregularities of the referendum.

Istanbul: Two arrests on allegations of insulting the president

LGBTI activist Çağla was detained at a “No” demonstration organized on the evening of April 18 in Istanbul’s Beşiktaş district. On April 22, she was arrested. Attorney Rozerin Seda Kip from SPoD LGBTI visited Çağla in prison. She reported what Çağla experienced to KaosGL.org as follows:

“She was arrested while the demonstration was still going on with the justification of insulting the president. She was the only person taken out of the group. There is no evidence to show that she carried out the crime of defamation in the police reports or file. While she was detained, an additional detention period was requested as part of the state of emergency. Ultimately she was arrested. We will object to this decision.”

Additionally, LGBTI+ [community] member and activist Nakka, who carried out the “No” campaign in Istanbul before the referendum, was detained with an accusation of insulting the president and was later arrested.

Izmir: Detention and arrest following referendum protest

Two LGBTI activists who joined a protest in Izmir following the referendum were also arrested with the allegation of insulting the president. Red Ocean LGBTI and Positive Resistance (Kızıl Okyanus LGBTİ ve Pozitif Direniş) member Asya Gökalp and an activist friend from Positive Resistance were detained in a dawn operation following the demonstration. Both were arrested.

Diyarbakır: Detention and arrest before the referendum

LGBTI activist Loren was arrested on April 13, being among those detained on April 4 in an operation directed at members of the Socialist Party of the Oppressed (Ezilenlerin Sosyalist Partisi, ESP) who carried out the “No” campaign in Diyarbakır.

Constitutional Court halts deportation of trans refugees

 

The Constitutional Court halted the decision made by the Denizli Immigration Authority to deport two Iranian refugee trans women.

Source: “Trans mültecilerin sınır dışını AYM durdurdu,” Evrensel, 22 April 2017, https://www.evrensel.net/haber/316838/trans-multecilerin-sinir-disini-aym-durdurdu

The Constitutional Court halted the decision of the Denizli Migration Authority to deport two Iranian refugee trans women with the justification that it could bring about irreparable results. The two Iranian refugee trans women, who were taken into custody by the police on the evening of April 18 because they did not have work permits, were wanted for deportation by the Denizli Migration Authority with the allegation that they “disrupted public safety.”

The Denizli Migration Authority, which did not allow the refugees their right to object to the decision, wanted the deportation operation to take place in the morning hours of March 21 [sic. Article means April], but with pressure from both lawyers and associations doing work related to refugees and rights advocates, the Denizli Migration Authority was forced to suspend the operation.

The refugees’ lawyers Gamze Saymak and Tezcan Çakmak applied to the Constitutional Court and requested that an injunction be issued related to the deportation decision. The Constitutional Court, which evaluated the demand, ruled to temporarily suspend the two Iranian refugee trans women’s deportation.

The following was said in the ruling: “In order to evaluate whether or not there was a serious threat to the applicant’s life or material or spiritual wholeness through a concrete event, a need is felt for more information and documents. Additionally, in the case that the deportation operation were carried out during the period of research, irreparable consequences could emerge. For this reason, the decision has been made to temporarily halt the deportation of the applicant to their country in order for relevant information and documents to be collected and reevaluated.”

REFUGEES SENT TO ISTANBUL

The refugees, who were held at the Denizli Kınıklı Police Station for three days to be sent to Iran, were sent to the Istanbul Silivri Deportation Center without information being given to their lawyers. The Migration Authority denied the lawyers’ request for information, saying “you do not have power of attorney.”

MIGRATION AUTHORITY DID NOT WANT TO MAKE A DECISION

Lawyer Gamze Saymak, who spoke to our newspaper, while criticizing the attitude of the migration authority during this process, said: “Though we said that we had been appointed by the bar, the Provincial Migration Directorate did not give our side any information or documents and did not give us permission to review the file with the justification that we did not have power of attorney. They did not even want to accept the documents related to the case opened at the Denizli Provincial Migration Directorate Administrative Court or the application for injunction we made at the Constitutional Court. Only after much fighting we were able to deliver the documents.”