LGBTI comment from İhsanoğlu: Society has Sensitivities!

Source: “İhsanoğlu’ndan LGBTİ yorumu: Toplumun hassasiyetleri var!” (“LGBTI comment from İhsanoğlu: Society has Sensitivities!”), 28 July 2014,

Presidential Candidate Ekmeleddin İhsanoğlu said, “Our society is a conservative one. Society has sensitivities” regarding LGBTI rights.

Presidential Candidate Ekmeleddin İhsanoğlu spoke with Turkish daily newspaper Hürriyet’s Cansu Çamlıbel and avoided answering questions regarding homophobia and LGBTI rights. İhsanoğlu talked about “society’s sensitivities” and said “Our society is a conservative one. We have to think about the sensitivities of a conservative society.”

İhsanoğlu has no projects, promises or statements on LGBTI people killed because of “the sensitivities of a conservative society” or hate crimes.

İhsanoğlu had previously argued that homophobia is not a universal issue and had stayed away from approaches that include LGBTI rights within universal human rights. The relevant parts of the interview are below:

Your statement in an interview with Al Jazeera where you said “Homophobia is not a universal issue” remain in the archives. What is your position on LGBTI people’s rights and place in society?

Of course this is a very sensitive issue. On the one hand there is the human rights aspect on the inclusion of these people in society and on the other hand there are society’s sensitivities. We must think about this within these two parameters.

How do we find that balance? What is the formula to get over society’s homophobia?

What is homophobia?

We can say that it is a concept that summarizes extreme attitudes of denial and exclusion of LGBTI people.

We should consider these sensitivities. It would not be correct to approach one side heavily. And there is this: our society is a conservative one. We have to think about the sensitivities of a conservative society. We have to be respectful of the values of 76 million people in Turkey. There are people who behave like this and who defend their rights.

So you see the free expression of sexual orientation as a right, correct?

There is a majority that is against this as well. It is not possible for me to answer this when I am trying to make it to the airport.

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