MP asks the Ministry of Justice about Hate Crimes

Melda Onur, a prominent parliamentarian in Turkey, filed an official parliamentary question, asking the Ministry of Justice about hate crimes against LGBTI individuals and formal measures taken against such crimes (PDF file).

The Grand National Assembly of Turkey

Republican People’s Party (CHP)

Group Presidency

Date: 20 October 2014

No: 31239

To the Presidency of the Grand National Assembly of Turkey

I request that my questions below be answered by the Minister of Justice, Bekir Bozdağ, in writing.

Melda Onur

Member of Parliament from Istanbul

In Turkey, the othering of those who are perceived as different is transforming into hate murders when encouraged by the hate speech of some opinion leaders. The most obvious targets of these murders are LGBTI individuals and hate crimes against these individuals are increasing daily.

The murders that have been occurring in various cities show that the government does not take permanent legal measures or precautions against discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

These attacks, which especially target trans individuals, have most recently led to both the discovery of the dead body of a trans woman, Gypsy Gül, in her Istanbul home as well as the brutal murder of trans woman Corti Emel. Effective investigations are not conducted after these attacks, which threaten the right to life; the punishments given to the criminals do not act as deterrents.

On the other hand, the “Bill to Amend Various Laws to Improve Fundamental Rights and Freedoms”, more commonly known as the “Democratization Package” was put forth by the government in March and passed as law by the Parliament. With the Democratization Package, the phrase “hate” has been included in law for the first time. However, the terms gender identity and sexual orientation have not been included in the law and no added punishment will be given if sexual assault and sexual harassment, etc. are conducted with motivation rooted in hatred.

Therefore, the inability to prevent physical and verbal assaults against LGBTI individuals across the country is a reflection of this legal vacuum.

As such,

  1. In the new legislative year, do you foresee additional arrangements to include attacks against LGBTI individuals within the scope of hate crimes?

  2. Does your ministry’s agenda include an action plan to prevent hate motivated attacks and murders that target LGBTI individuals? Are you considering coordination with other institutions?

  3. What is the number of trans and gay individuals who have lost their lives due to hate crimes in the last five years? What is the distribution of these across different cities?

  4. How many people have been tried for hate crimes against LGBTI individuals up to today and what is the total amount of jail time that these people were sentenced to?

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