Sexual Rights and Freedoms Cannot Be Eradicated

Source: Sosyal Politikalar, Cinsiyet Kimliği ve Cinsel Yönelim Çalışmaları Derneği, (Social Policies, Gender Identity, and Sexual Orientation Studies Association,) “Cinsel Haklar ve Özgürlükler Yok Edilemez,” (“Sexual Rights and Freedoms Cannot Be Eradicated,”)

As the LGBTI/Q movement, we have been working to protect and increase LGBTI people’s rights and freedoms for the last 20 years. We know that the LGBTI/Q movement has reached an important point through this struggle but also know that the state has not established any protective legal measures to secure LGBTI people’s rights during the 11 years under the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP).

To the contrary, there have been closure cases against LGBTI associations during the AKP rule. However, the closure cases were rejected through European Union and European Court of Human Rights precedents. Therefore, the AKP government legally lost its struggle against LGBTI associations. Nevertheless, the LGBTI/Q associations’ legal demands have not been included in any law passed during the the AKP’s 11 years in power. The legal rights of LGBT people have been completely ignored.

Along with this, the AKP government continued to harass LGBTI people. The AKP’s former Minister of State responsible for Women and Family Affairs, Selma Aliye Kavaf, declared homosexuality to be a disease. In 2013, the AKP rejected the main opposition’s parties motion to establish an investigative commission for LGBTI people. While explaining the AKP’s policies on sexuality, MP Türkan Dağoğlu, reiterated that homosexuality is a disease and once again declared LGBTI people to be sick.

Most recently, we have seen that the AKP has positioned itself against sexual intercourse among unmarried heterosexual couples. Prime Minister Tayyip Erdoğan has personally declared that public measures will be taken to prevent these relationships. The state had already interfered with how we should dress on the streets, who we should kiss, who we should hold hands with. Now, the state is also in our homes.

The AKP staff repeated that it is not correct for girls and boys to live together in student houses and that this should controlled. Therefore, the AKP government showed its backwards attitude by revealing that it does not even accept free sexual relations among heterosexual individuals. The fact that these individuals are adults is not enough for the AKP.

It seems inevitable that the AKP will take steps towards LGBTI people and associations. We are worried that Tayyip Erdoğan will ban homosexuality like Putin has in Russia with one move. This worry is based on the idea that a man who cannot even tolerate heterosexual sexuality would not tolerate homosexuality. 10 years have passed since Tayyip Erdoğan spoke on the TV program Young Outlook in 2002 and said homosexuals also have rights. It is clear that Tayyip Erdoğan was deceptive on this issue as well.

As LGBTI organizations, we find Prime Minister Tayyip Erdoğan’s limiting attitude towards sexual freedoms to be against human rights and democracy. We declare that this attitude’s public legitimization through conservatism is against democracy. We read statements such as, “It is in our laws, we will administer them” as bad intentioned rather than good. We do not see the standardization of all families and all youths in the name of the legal protection of youth and family to be correct.

If all bans were legitimized by existing law, the freedom on head-scarves within the freedom of women could never have been accomplished. As LGBTI organizations, we call on the AKP government to act within the ethics of equality and freedom as mandated by the principles of democracy. We declare that we will be standing in the streets, at our work places, in the Parliament, against any act that would target LGBTI people and their demands of sexual freedom. We will work till the end to make sure that Turkey will not be Iran or Russia. The politics of sexual freedoms are a human rights struggle and we will not back away from it.

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