Ombudsman Institution stated that the ban against Kuirfest film screening is not “within the jurisdiction” of the institution.
Compiled from: “Film ban determined to be not within the jurisdiction of ombudsman!” (“Film yasağı Kamu Denetçiliği’nin görev alanında değilmiş!”), Kaos GL, March 19, 2018, http://kaosgl.org/yazarlar.php?id=4002
“Kuir Kısalar” (“Queer Shorts”) was a film screening, organized in collaboration of KuirFest with Pera and British Council and was scheduled to take place on November 25, 2017. The screening was first postponed to a later date with a notification sent to Pera Museum by the District Governorship. Another notice delivered to Pera Museum on December 29 stated the event was postponed until January 12. The screening was ultimately banned on the premises that “public safety” should be provided. Pink Life Association’s petition to the Ombudsman Institute regarding the ban was rejected on the grounds of “no-investigation.” Pink Life Association’s lawyer Emrah Şahin applied to Ombudsman on January 4 stating the “Kuir Kısalar” screening was banned unlawfully and that the parties were notified of the ban on the last day, which violated the legal right to appeal. Şahin stated that freedom of speech as well as “good administration principles” were violated.
District Governorship Demanded Dismissal
The defense statement of Beyoğlu District Governorship indicated that “Kuir Kısalar” might be targeted by terrorist organizations and that this situation could lead to a civil war. The District Governorship stated that it does not aim to other LGBTI+ individuals or to limit rights and liberties, instead the rejection was intended to prevent crime and to protect the public order.
The District Governorship did not state any reason for why the event was cancelled on the last day and opposes any review of this decision.
No Investigation Decision from Ombudsman Institute
Upon receiving the Beyoğlu District Governorship’s defense, Ombudsman Institute rejected the application for an inspection of the ban decision on the premises that the incident is not within the “assigned mandate” of the institution.
A “Careless and Sloppy Decision”
Lawyer Emrah Şahin stated his views on the decision of Ombudsman Institute to reject the application. Şahin reported the reasons the District Governorship has are same as the decision to ban Pride Walk. Thus, the issue has been handled in a sloppy manner. Ombudsman’s statement that the issue is “not within their jurisdiction” is self-contradictory.
Şahin said: “As you know we applied to Ombudsman Institute following the last day ban against our event which was scheduled to take place at Pera by Beyoğlu District Governorship. As the ban was issued on the day before the event, the Association was deprived of the right to appeal the decision since there was not enough time. Therefore, the association has suffered irrevocable harm and Beyoğlu District Governorship violated the “good administration principles” as well as interfered with the right to access justice, freedom of speech, the right to assembly, to art and property rights. Based on these reasons, we petitioned Ombudsman for further information and the Governorship of Istanbul based its decision on memos from Ministry of Interior and the Security Directorate which stated: “the walk planned by LGBTI members could potentially be targeted by terrorist organizations, given the increase in the threats of terrorist acts against our country.
Neither the dates or numbers of these memos were indicated. The banned event is not a ‘walk.’ Indeed, it is a film screening! The memos on which the decision is built were obviously memos written about ‘Pride Walk’, yet Ombudsman Institute found these responses to be adequate. The administration does not clarify why the ban was issued on the last day either. The Ombudsman Institution did not comment on this practice, which is blatantly against the “good administration principles.” Instead, Ombudsman determined there would be “no investigation” after first suggesting our application for review is “within the domain of legislation” only to retract by stating that it is “not within their jurisdiction”, leading our association to pursue further legal avenues.
“As a law practitioner, my confidence in Ombudsman Institute is lost after this decision. Such careless and sloppy decision making on such an important matter perhaps stems from the institute’s hesitation in making an advisory ruling on this issue.” –Pink Life