Opposition CHP Leader Kılıçdaroğlu Responds to Questions on LGBTI Equality

Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, the Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader, sent supportive messages with regards to marriage equality in Ekşi Sözlük [a Turkish online collaborative ‘wikitionary,’ similar to an informal Wikipedia] yesterday night. Kılıçdaroğlu had claimed that “society is not yet ready for a homosexual leader” two years earlier [in December 2013], addressing the same community.

Source: Ömer Akpınar, “Kılıçdaroğlu’ndan eşcinsel evlilik yorumu: Herkesin hayatına kimse karışamaz”, (“Kilicdaroglu comments on homosexual marriage: Nobody can interfere with everybody’s life”), KaosGL.org, 13 April 2015, http://kaosgl.org/sayfa.php?id=19175

CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu responded to questions on the Ekşi Sözlük website, under a[n AMA] thread that was posted yesterday night, titled “Hello I am CHP general president Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu.”

The following question was directed to Kılıçdaroğlu “What do you promise to LGBTI individuals?”

Upon Kılıçdaroğlu’s failure to display a consistent attitude regarding LGBTI equality, the following question was asked:

“During your election campaign, will you be able to grab the microphone and say ‘I promise an egalitarian citizenship and constitutional protections for LGBTI [lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, intersex] individuals’? What are your personal thoughts on LGBTI marriage equality?”

CHP leader, referring to a viral video[1], replied “nobody can interfere with everybody’s life :)”

“CHP leader should have given a serious answer”

Even though Kılıçdaroğlu’s response was applauded generally by the website’s contributors, a writer by the screenname jish cha directed the following criticism towards Kılıçdaroğlu:

“This Q&A session might be funny for most of us, but for some people living in this country this is a serious question/problem. Joking is okay and fun but I think that he should have given a serious answer.”

CHP members are working for LGBTI equality

Despite Kılıçdaroğlu’s failure in proactively discussing LGBTI rights, CHP members have proposed numerous bills and parliamentary questions on the issue.

In the past week, CHP has proposed a Social Integration and Social Inclusion Bill of Law which also includes LGBTIs. The party had also proposed a Labour Law for LGBTI individuals in February.

Earlier in January, Faruk Çelik, Minister of Labour and Social Security, in response to CHP member Mahmut Tanal’s parliamentary question, had expressed on behalf of the ministry that they did not support LGBTI individuals’ participation in the workforce.

Two years earlier Kılıçdaroğlu had said “society is not ready”

Kılıçdaroğlu had answered the question “Would you nominate a homosexual candidate in the local elections?” by saying “society is not yet ready for a homosexual mayor” in a meeting held in December 2013 with 20 Ekşi Sözlük writers.

Despite this prior response, Kılıçdaroğlu had come together with representatives from the Platform for LGBT Political Representation and Participation. In the 2014 local elections, Sedef Çakmak and Çelik Özdemir from Istanbul, and Öykü Evren Özen from Bursa had been nominated to run for membership for the respective local parliaments, however they have not won the elections. Sedef Çakmak has later been elected in March 2015 as member of the local parliament of Beşiktaş, becoming the first openly lesbian parliament member of the Municipality of Beşiktaş and of any local parliament in Turkey at large.

Trans activist Niler Albayrak, who was a candidate for nomination in preparation for the 2015 general elections, subsequently failed to be nominated by CHP.

The main opposition party does not have any openly gay candidates running for the 2015 general elections.


[1] The viral video referred to by Kılıçdaroğlu is an excerpt from a street interview on the abolition of the headscarf ban, whereby a young man supports the abolition of the ban claiming that nobody can interfere with everybody’s life. The video can be found at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oHjyEKkcySs

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