Turkish Bath owner, who did not let a trans woman in, receives a 3,000 TL fine for discrimination

The owner of a Turkish bath who did not let a trans woman enter the establishment was charged and fined for discrimination. Lawyer Eren Keskin stated that this is the first time a punishment was given under this article related to trans individuals and said “I think that this verdict will give confidence to trans individuals on this matter. If the Supreme Court approves this verdict, they may live life a bit easier.”

Source: İsmail Saymaz, “Trans kadını içeri almayan hamamcıya, ayrımcılık suçundan 3 bin TL ceza” (“Turkish Bath owner, who did not let a trans woman in, receives a 3 thousand TL fine for discrimination), Radikal, 30 January 2015, http://www.radikal.com.tr/turkiye/trans_kadini_iceri_almayan_hamamciya_ayrimcilik_sucundan_3_bin_tl_ceza-1282917

İpek [Ebru] Kırancı, a trans individual who was not let into the historical Galatasaray Bath in İstanbul, where she went with a female friend, filed a complaint about the owner who said “We do not let in trannies like you, go to a bath of your own!” The owner received a fine of 3,000 TL [1240 USD] for the charges of “discrimination” regulated in Article 122 of the Turkish Penal Law (TCK). Kırancı’s lawyer Eren Keskin noted that this was the first time a sentence was given under this article and said “I think that this verdict will give confidence to trans individuals on this matter. If the Supreme Court approves this verdict, they may live life a bit easier.”

İpek Kırancı, who lives in Istanbul and who changed her sex to be a woman years ago, allegedly went to the Galatasaray Bath on December 26, 2013, with her friend Helga Maria Margereta to take a bath. Ahmet Karagüney, who owns the bath, rejected Kırancı and her friend, saying “You absolutely cannot enter!” even though she showed her pink ID card. Thereupon Kırancı filed a complaint through her lawyer Eren Keskin. A lawsuit against Karagüney was opened, on the charges of “discrimination based on language, race, color, sex, political opinion, philosophical belief, religion, sect and similar reasons”  regulated by the Article 122 of the Turkish Penal Law, with a request of imprisonment from six months to a year.

The first hearing of the case opened in the İstanbul 42nd Criminal Court of First Instance and took place last year on November 13. Defendant Karagüney stated that it was a busy day due to Easter holiday; therefore, they were only working through reservation and said “Kırancı came with a foreign woman. We said that we only had space for one person and that we can host her guests. We said that we did not have any other space and that we could not accept them. They left.” Kırancı, on the other hand, stated that she is the president of a homosexual organization called Istanbul LGBTT, and that she became a woman through surgery 20 years ago, changing her identity. Kırancı reported that Karagüney said “It’s full here, we do not let trannies like you inside. You go to your own bath, we can only let your friend in,” when she and her friend went to the bath that day in the afternoon.

In the second hearing of the case, which took place yesterday, Kırancı’s friend Binder took the stand as a witness. Binder explained: “The defendant said ‘You can’t enter here, I gave the order’ to us. İpek protested ‘I have a pink ID. Why don’t you let us in?’ Defendant shouted and said that he will not let her in. He said to me ‘Only you can enter,’ and to İpek, ‘You go to your own bath, you can’t enter here.’”

Judge Gönül Doğan sentenced Karagüney to a 150-day judicial penalty on the charge of discrimination. Turning it into a 3,000 TL fine, Judge Doğan decided on a five year probation and on the deferment of the announcement of the verdict. Lawyer Eren Keskin stated that this was the first time a sentence was given under this article in relation to trans individuals and said “I think that this verdict will give confidence to trans individuals on this matter. If the Supreme Court approves this verdict, they may live life a bit easier.”

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