The Turkish Ministry of Education has started an investigation into private American high school Robert College after daily Yeni Akit targeted the school. Akit headlined the investigation as an “investigation into perversion.”
Source: Aslı Alpar, “Robert Koleji’nin LGBTİ farkındalık etkinliklerine soruşturma,” kaosGL.org, 4 April 2017, http://kaosgl.org/sayfa.php?id=23466
The Ministry of National Education (MEB) has started an investigation into Robert College, which was targeted by homophobic daily newspaper Yeni Akit for holding a series of LGBTI awareness events for students. Yeni Akit headlined the events as “Perversion at Robert College” and the investigation as “MEB Investigation into Perversion at Robert.”
In a March 31 article, Faruk Aslan from Yeni Akit used provocative sentences like “they will inject homoseuality to high-school students” and show “immoral movies” at Robert College’s LGBTI awareness events. Aslan also alleged that the events did not have MEB permission and they presented the events as “a perversion choir to present the homosexuality sickness as a normal human condition in society.”
Akit targeted, MEB started the investigation
MEB’s Besiktas District Office began an investigation into the school in less than a week after Akit targeted Robert College. Faruk Arslan’s racist and homophobic story that “announces the good news” for the investigation also includes the school’s own defense.
Faruk Aslan reports the investigation as “MEB has not remained silent on Robert College’s perverted events that inject homosexuality into its students.” Arslan says Robert College confirmed the LGBTI week to the ministry and that the school organized the week to respect different genders.
Faruk Arslan claims to have access to Robert College’s defense in the investigation. Arslan includes the file number and the names of school officials. By sharing an official document, Arslan is turning these officials into open targets.
Seeing Akit’s homophobia in the Ministry of National Education
Arslan claims that the MEB asked the school “Which gender includes the homosexuality sickness?” The newspaper says Robert College did not respond to this question. Homosexuality is legal and is not considered a sickness in Turkey. Akit’s assessment of homosexuality as a sickness is rooted in the newspaper’s homophobia.
However, if the newspaper’s claim is accurate, then MEB also views homosexuality as a sickness and demands that it be related to a gender. In that case, then MEB’s investigation and Akit’s homophobia are intertwined.
Previously, we were informed of MEB’s Cankaya District Manager Mehmet Yilmaz’s homophobia through Whatsapp messages to school principles. Yilmaz texted his discomfort of LGBTI commissions in schools and alleged that students are trying to be pulled into “perversion” and that “this perverted mentality which is today’s representatives of the tribe of Lot” are trying to hang “posters that present sexual perversions like perverted gay and lesbianism” in schools.
If Akit’s allegations of Robert College investigation are correct, then we need to be speaking about MEB’s homophobia.
There are LGBTI students!
When Yeni Akit’s racist, homophobic, anti-LGBTI, aggressive and hateful “news” style is embraced by MEB, LGBTI students will be forced to hide and be ignored. It means LGBTI youth will not be able to exist in safety in society. Therefore, Akit and similar newspapers’ anti-LGBTI stance cannot be reproduced by state institutions and ministries.
Robert College’s principled stance against a media language that ignores and lynches LGBTI, as well as the fact that it is not taking a step back despite homophobic pressures from public institutions, is admirable.
Let this be a reminder: LGBTI students exist! LGBTIs exist! Homosexuality is not a sickness! Homophobia is discrimination!