Islamist daily Vahdet covered Turkish courts’ past rejections of closure requests made against LGBTI associations Kaos GL and Lambdaistanbul as the “judicial promotion of immorality”.
Source: Ömer Akpınar, “Vahdet’ten “LGBTİ örgütleri kapatılsın” çağrısı!”, (“Islamist daily calls for LGBTI organizations to be closed down!”), kaosGL.org, 23 February 2015, http://kaosgl.org/sayfa.php?id=18819
Vahdet was founded in December 2014 by journalists who left Yeni Akit, another extremist newspaper infamous for its hate speech against ethnic, religious and sexual minorities in Turkey. As the last part of its discriminatory attacks, the paper put forth news about the closure requests against Kaos GL Association in 2005 and Lambdaistanbul LGBTT Solidarity Association in 2006.
The Turkish Constitutional Court acknowledged last year that referring to gays as “perverts” is hate speech. However, Vahdet still called Kaos GL and Lambdaistanbul “the NGOs of perverse circles”, deeming the verdicts that the associations are not “contrary to morality” to be a “trump card given to the perverts by the court.”
Vahdet rediscovers LGBTI history in Turkey
Islamist and conservative media organs have been instrumentalizing homophobic and transphobic hate discourse to attack the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) as the country’s LGBTI movement rises despite having no support from the government.
Vahdet claimed that “the immoral circles gain protection to continue their activities freely due to some judicial verdicts”, targeting previous decisions in favor of LGBTIs’ freedom of expression and organization.
“Being gay does not mean being immoral”
The Ankara Governor’s Office made a request for the closure of Kaos GL Association in 2005, the first officially registered LGBT association in the country, claiming that the association’s statute included articles contrary to morality. The 56th Article of the Turkish Civil Code states that “no association may be established with aims that are contrary to law and morality.” The Ankara Chief Prosecutor’s Office rejected the request and stated that “being gay does not mean being immoral” giving a reference to the American Psychiatric Association’s stance on homosexuality.
The Supreme Court of Appeals thinks that homosexuality can be “promoted”!
One year later, the Directorate of Associations of the Istanbul Governor’s Office requested that the Ministry of Interior investigate Lambdaistanbul’s statute. As the Ministry claimed that the statute includes articles contrary to morality, the governor’s office made a request for the association to be closed down. Following the prosecutor’s rejection, the case was taken to the Supreme Court of Appeals, which rejected the request of closure in 2009, with a reservation that “it is obvious that the closure of the association can be requested if the association engages in activities to encourage, promote and spread homosexuality in future.”
State homophobia targets ecology association as well!
As the latest attempt, the Van Governor’s Office initiated a closure case against the Youth and Ecology Association Ekogenç as the association includes “sexual orientation” in its statute and rejects an organizational model based on hierarchy. In December 2014, the court ruled that it is not “contrary to morality” for Ekogenç to be active in the area of sexual orientation.
Homophobia in media contradicts with government’s LGBT claims
Deputy Prime Minister Bülent Arınç portrayed a very positive situation for LGBTs in Turkey’s Universal Periodic Review in Geneva last month. Although Arınç stated that the fact that there is no special regulation for LGBTs does not mean that their rights are ignored, homophobic and transphobic hate speech of Vahdet has not been officially condemned, warned or punished so far.