Grindr ban in Turkey taken to Constitutional Court

The ban on gay dating app Grindr in Turkey has been taken to the Constitutional Court by Kaos GL Association.

Source: Ömer Akpinar, “Eşcinsel uygulamasına sansür Anayasa Mahkemesi’nde”, kaosGL.org, 27 March 2015, http://kaosgl.org/sayfa.php?id=19062

Kaos GL Association has made an individual application today to the Turkish Constitutional Court on behalf of the association’s Umut Guner against the ban on gay dating app Grindr.

The website of Grindr has been blocked by the Turkish Telecommunications Directorate since August 2013 as a “protective measure”.

Homosexuality is “automatically considered as a crime”

The application to the Constitutional Court was prepared with the support of Prof. Dr. Yaman Akdeniz from Istanbul Bilgi University, Faculty of Law, and Asst. Prof. Dr. Kerem Altiparmak from Ankara University, Faculty of Political Sciences, Human Rights Center. The application emphasizes that the decision to ban Grindr does not define obscenity and prostitution and that it automatically considers homosexuality is a crime.

Access to Grindr was blocked based on an individual application to the prosecutor’s office for the sharing of personal information without consent. The application to the Constitutional Court underlines that the protection measure has negatively affected the plaintiff for an undetermined amount of time even though the plaintiff had nothing to do with the event.

Banning access to website after personal complaint is “not proportional”

Umut Guner from Kaos GL Association made an objection to the ban in January 2015, which was rejected by a lower court.

The application states that one’s sexual orientation is protected by Article 17 of the Turkish Constitution and that there is no reasonable proportion between the personal complaint and banning access to whole websites.

It is also highlighted that justifications for protecting minors from such dating websites cannot be applied to Grindr, which does not accept members under 18.

No justifications for banning Grindr

The court decision to ban Grindr does not include a justification as to why homosexuality is associated to obscenity and prostitution, which violates the plaintiff’s right to a fair trial and leads to a continuous violation.

The application to the Constitutional Court also explains the importance of social media for gay men in Turkey in terms of socializing, meeting each other and organizing. Moreover, social media is widely used by activists to provide consultancy to other LGBT people.

The application demands the identification of violations, ending the ban and cost of proceedings.

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