“That thing does not suit MHP!”

Source: Hazal Özvarış, “‘That Thing does not Suit MHP!’” (“‘O Şey MHP’ye Uymaz!’”), T24, 2 June 2014, http://t24.com.tr/haber/o-sey-mhpye-uymaz,259998

Translator’s note: This is the translation of an excerpt from an interview conducted with the former MHP (Nationalist Movement Party) Province Chairman for Istanbul, Abdurrahman Başkan. While the full interview covers multiple topics, we have chosen to translate only the part that pertains to LGBTI individuals.

Homosexual nationalists

Q: You might have seen the “Nationalist LGBTs” account on Twitter.

A: I prefer not to answer this question since I do not have much information on it.

Q: Upon being elected Province Chairman for Istanbul, you gave an interview to Hürriyet Daily where you said the following: “I try to meet with all sectors of society. I have conservative values but I can consider all kinds of opinions.” What prevents you now from doing so?

A: You are referring to people’s preferences. Everyone’s inclination is their own business. That is why I do not wish to comment on this.

“LGBT inclinations do not fit with our frame of mind”

Q: The editor in chief of Ortadoğu Daily recounted the following on 3 May, the day of Turkism: “It [the newspaper] does not have fuss and feathers; no wise men or models, nobody from Robert College or Saint Joseph High School, no gays, no jabber, no tabloid press. That is why only nationalists read it.”

A: What we say is that our conservative frame [of mind] is opposed to that thing you describe. We are saying that it does not suit our more conservative and traditional family structure.

Q: You abstain from even mentioning the word.

A: We say that this subject does not agree with our worldview.

Q: Are you saying that “there cannot be a nationalist who is gay” while homosexual nationalists are trying to make their voices heard on Twitter, albeit via nicknames?

A: I cannot give any comments on this question.

Q: Why not?

A: I have already explicitly replied to this. These kinds of inclinations do not agree with our general philosophy, the religion that we take as a basis of our nationalist, conservative structure.

Q: So what is your mission statement as a politician; what must homosexuals do?

A: Everyone in politics may be focused on attracting votes from various sectors. But we do not have any party activities that incorporate those who have such inclinations.

“They do not disappear when you ignore them”

Q: Therefore if the MHP were to win the elections, they would not have policies regarding homosexuals because they would only devise politics based on the sectors that vote for them. Is that correct?

A: I am only expressing my own opinions. But I can say that this is not an issue we spend much time on or something that we are open to.

Q: Mr. Başkan, if the CHP were elected and they said, “We are not open to Islam,” would you not consider yourself ostracized, as a Muslim?

A: But you are talking about Islam. Why are you conflating two issues that have nothing to do with each other?

Q: Society is made up of multiple components.

A: And so, are you about to ask me how I perceive pickpockets or some other people?

Q: Is your stance one that involves ignoring them?

A: They do not disappear when you ignore them. I said that we have no projects or pledges in this regard.

 

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