Orhun Gündüz, “Kılıçdaroğlu’ndan “Toplum Buna Hazır Değil” Klişesi!” (“Kılıçdaroğlu’s “Society is Not Ready for This” Cliché!), Hürileti, 21 December 2013, http://hurileti.com/yazar-75-kilicdaroglu_klise.html
The leader of the Republican People’s Party (CHP) Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu met with online community “sourtimes” (ekşi sözlük) writers on 14 December 2013. In this meeting, he answered many questions ranging from topics like local elections and political conspiracy theories. The request to meet came from the CHP and one article states that Kılıçdaroğlu responded to questions on gay marriage and gay political representation. Though for unknown reason the details of this meeting was not brought about in the LGBTI agenda, it is impossible for me to ignore it.
It seems Kılıçdaroğlu almost evaded the issues of gay marriage and gay political representation and did not go outside the central political discourse: “I do not think the society of Turkey has reached this maturity. Because of this, it is not possible for the CHP to declare a gay candidate as mayor or establish gay marriage in a legal framework.” However, this statement does not correspond to the support some parliamentarians have given to LGBTI people, especially considering the fact the CHP attended Istanbul Pride with 8 parliamentarians.
This statement is completely contrary when the facts that various district and city LGBTI organizations of the CHP authored reports, Melda Onur went to the United Nations to increase the visibility of LGBTI people as a parliamentarian of a social democratic party, and many parliamentarians have submitted questions to the Assembly are taken into consideration. Then we keep thinking why people are hesitant towards the CHP. Furthermore, was it not Kılıçdaroğlu himself who met with the LGBTI Political Representation and Participation Platform? This was even presented as the CHP’s LGBTI opening by the media. The answer “society is not ready for this” is nothing but a cliché!
So what should we do to get society ready? Wait twenty years? What kind of change or maturity do we expect when amendments are not put on the agenda, when there are no candidates? I would not be surprised if someone stands up and says, “LGBTI people are not ready for Kılıçdaroğlu.” Plus, is it not condescending to posit that society cannot reach a certain maturity or to just say “it would not work anyway?” Is it not this attitude that the CHP has been trying to climb out for years?
Unfortunately, we do not see the consistent and encompassing answers regarding homosexuality when compared to the answers given to the other questions. We expect politicians to open the paths of anti-discriminatory policies. Kılıçdaroğlu can consult many people on this issue- parliamentarians working on LGBTI issues and the CHP’s LGBTI commissions in youth branches are among these people.
No matter what, it is no longer possible for the CHP to act conservatively on LGBTI rights. What must be done is to gain the support of not just some parliamentarians but all parliamentarians and representatives. Only when the CHP submits solid practices to the Assembly can we actually talk about a real social democratic stance.