Censorship

Censorship and Fines against LGBTI content in Turkey

Kaos GL: Kaos GL and Pink Life Take the Governorship Ban to Court

Kaos GL and Pink Life filed a lawsuit against the ban announced by Governorship of Ankara, demanding the court to cancel the ban and halt the execution.

Source: Kaos GL, “Kaos GL ve Pembe Hayat Valilik yasağına dava açtı” http://kaosgl.org/sayfa.php?id=25014 November 29, 2017.

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Kaos GL and Pink Life, LGBTI associations in Ankara, have filed a lawsuit against the governorship’s decision to ban LGBTI events for an indefinite period of time, with two separate demands from the court to cancel the ban and halt the execution.

These groups demand the decision of the governorship, which cited concerns of “social sensitivities and sensibilities”, “public security”, “protection of public health and morality” and “protection of others’ rights and liberties” as reasons to ban LGBTI activities, be cancelled. Kaos GL and Pink Life call for immediate halt of the execution of the ban decision and warn the ban will have irremediable consequences.

The attorneys of both associations evaluated the decision and the lawsuits against the decision:

“It harms the associations with every passing moment”

Att. Emrah Şahin, Pink Life: The “indefinite ban” of the Governorship of Ankara against the LGBTI_LGBTT Associations’ activities is not only against the International Conventions and constitutional rights but also against the local legislation provisions upon which the premises of the decision are built. Therefore, as the injured party of this ban we filed a lawsuit at Ankara Administrative Court. The execution of the ban should immediately be halted so as the end this deliberate violation of rights and a cancellation should follow. The fact that the ban is for an indefinite period of time causes the associations active in this field material and moral damages with every passing moment. Beyoğlu District Governorship unfortunately followed Governorship of Ankara’s line of conduct. Although these consecutive bans lead one to think that these decisions are political, we would like to think that these decisions do not stem from the policies of the state but rather from the faulty perspectives of the individuals. Therefore we hope that our rightful case will be won through domestic law without applying to ECHR or other international institutions and/or that the administration immediately gives up on this misguided approach and lifts the ban.

“An attack against the freedom of speech and right to organize of the LGBTIs”

Att. Kerem Dikmen, Kaos GL Association: Although the governorship decision does not formally seem like it bans the activities of the associations working for LGBTI rights, the consequences of the decision essentially ban these activities in their entirety.  In short: the governorship is telling associations that they can remain open and that it does not concern their legal entity status, but that they should not step out of their buildings and should not reach out to people other than their members and activists. One can ask whether the governorship has the jurisdiction to make such a decision under the state of emergency conditions, but under current circumstances the governorship can not assume such authority. On the question if governorship can make these decisions, we respond it should not have such authority. Our cause for alarm stems from the way governorship has passed comprehensive bans on the activities of LGBTI associations such as cinevision, screenings, theatre plays, panels and discussions for an indefinite period of time. What indefinite means is that there is no deadline for the ban. Surely this is a deliberate attack against the rights of the LGBTI individuals to organize as well as their freedom to express themselves in an organized manner. When all activities of an association are banned, it is a de facto banning of the association–which subsequently voids the constitutional right to form associations. It is important to note: the Turkish constitution does not even permit parliament to abolish the right to form associations through legislation, let alone through the governorship.

“We would like to believe that this inconsistency will be eliminated through judiciary process”

We should also clarify, there are no legal categorizes for LGBTT or LGBTI associations in Turkish law. However, “LGBTT_LGBTI” associations are the subject for the new decision. While civil society can coin such terms or categories, serious concern is raised when these terms are used by the state. Additionally, there can be no discriminatory consequences for organizations or their members because the association is LGBTT or LGBTI. We need to think of discrimination that exists not only on individual level but also on communal level. When you ban the right of the LGBTI and LGBTT community associations to organize and form peaceful assemblies, it is a discriminatory decision that also negatively affects individuals. As a result, we find this decision to be inconsistent within the administrative framework of the state of emergency and of state policy. As such, we would like to see this inconsistency eliminated through the judiciary process as soon as possible.

If this is the purpose [of the practice], it will not help weaken the LGBTI movement in Turkey. The civil society movement has reached a wide audience and will not be conformed to discriminatory regulations which seek to reduce the visibility of LGBTI or LGBTT associations. The only consequence of these bans would be to strengthen the resolve and solidarity among the LGBTI individuals and communities.

 

Official Statement: Beyoglu District Governor’s Office bans LGBTI+ events on Nov. 25

Source: T.C. Beyoğlu Kaymakamlığı, “Basın Duyurusu,” Nov. 24, 2017, http://www.beyoglu.gov.tr/basin-duyurusu

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Regarding speculation gathered from social media and open sources that a  meeting and demonstration march with theme “November 25 LGBTI+” as well as film and discussion events in the same theme was planned to take place in our Beyoğlu district on 25.11.2017:

Because applications for the aforementioned events were not submitted within the framework of Law No: 2911 and 2559.

Because the events may be contrary to the Constitutional order or general morality, and because they may pose clear and immediate danger to public order and security:

They will not be allowed to ensure public order and security, to protect other people’s rights and freedoms and to prevent crime, within the framework of our District Governor’s 24/11/2017 2283 and 2284 decisions based on Law No: 2911 on Meetings and Demonstrations’ Article 17 and 28, Law No: 2559 on Police Powers Appendix 1 and Law No: 5442 Article 32/ç.

Respectfully announced to the public.

 

Kaos GL and Pink Life: Ankara governor’s ban on LGBTI events illegal

Source: “Kaos GL ve Pembe Hayat: Valilik kararı hukuka aykırı,” Nov. 19, 2017, http://kaosgl.org/sayfa.php?id=24994

We learned that the governor’s office of Ankara bannedfrom November 18, 2017 onwards, activities of LGBTT-LGBTI organizations such as film screenings, cinevision, theater plays, panels, talks, exhibitions which include certain social sensitivities and sensibilities” via its website.

We will follow legal proceedings on the governor’s illegal, discriminatory and arbitrary ban. There can be no legitimate or legal grounds for such a wholesale ban that touches the core of rights.  

In an omnibus ban with a very wide scope, we are facing a situation that is vague, open to interpretation and rights violations, criminalizing LGBTI existence. LGBTI civil society organizations are respectable institutions working for years to combat discrimination and hate crimes for equal citizenship. This ban, which goes beyond limiting the areas of activity of these institutions and making them inoperable, cannot be accepted in a democratic society.   

Ankara governor’s office’s grounds for the omnibus ban, including the phrases “protecting public health and morality,” “social sensibilities and sensitivities,” “public security” and “protection of other people’s rights and liberties” are clearly discriminatory. This decision legitimizes rights violations and discrimination against LGBTIs.

This decision and the illegal and vague grounds for it violate the very fundamental freedom of expression and association as well as other fundamental rights and freedoms. With this ban, fundamental rights have been interfered with in their essence.

Ankara governor’s office’s decision to ban violates our constitution’s Article 10 on equality and Article 26 on freedom to announce and disseminate thoughts, as well as international agreements Turkey is party to.  

With this announcement the civil administration is endangering public safety by turning LGBTIs and civil society organizations, who are an important part of the public, into targets instead of fulfilling its duty to ensure public security.  

We expect this decision to be rethought and withdrawn in the shortest amount of time. In our country where discrimination and hate based on sexual orientation and gender identity is rampant, it is the duty of national and local administrations to combat this discrimination and hate.

 

Official statement: Ankara governor’s office bans LGBTI events

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Source: Ankara Valiliği, “Yasaklama Kararına İlişkin Basın Duyurusu,” November 19, 2017, http://ankara.gov.tr/yasaklama-kararina-iliskin-basin-duyurusu-19112017

Press Statement Regarding the Ban Decision

It has been noticed through various social media and print and visual media outlets that in different locations around our city activities such as film screenings, cinevision, theater plays, panels, talks, exhibitions etc. which include certain social sensibilities and sensitivities by various civil society organizations under the name of LGBTT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transsexual or transvestite) and LGBTI (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex) are scheduled.

It was decided that the aforementioned social media shares might deliberately incite a certain segment of society with different characteristics of social class, race, religion, sect or region against another segment of society, that this might lead to imminent peril with regards to public security, that also it can harm the protection of other people’s rights and liberties, public health and morality as well as of public order, prevention of crime, and therefore there may be reactions and provocations against the groups and individuals taking part in the organization due to certain social sensibilities.

Due to these circumstances, from November 18, 2017 onwards, activities of LGBTT-LGBTI organizations such as film screenings, cinevision, theater plays, panels, talks, exhibitions which include certain social sensitivities and sensibilities in various locations around our city are banned by our Governorship, based on the Article 11/C of Law Of Provincial Administration No 5442, within the scope of measures to be taken for the provision of peace, security, right to physical integrity and the public order, following Article 17 of Law No. 2911 on Assembly and Demonstration Marches and Article 11/F of Law No. 2935 on State of Emergency.

We respectfully announce the ban to the public.

Istanbul Film Festival Director Responds to Censorship Allegations

Following criticism by LGBTI organizations that Istanbul Film Festival translator censored Sir Ian McKellen’s “as an openly gay man,” the festival’s director Kerem Ayan spoke to dispel censorship allegations and said the festival supports LGBTI movies.  

Kerem Ayan, Istanbul Film Festival Director:

If I may, I want to make a short statement, as I have the opportunity to speak in a conference hall full of people here. Some of you might have seen on social media yesterday. They said, “Ian McKellen said that he was an openly gay man during the opening ceremony of Istanbul Film Festival and that the festival censored it.”

I laughed a lot when I first heard it. I thought, “our audience actually knows who we are, this cannot be true.” Then, we saw that people actually don’t know who we are. This became a big issue on social media.

Why would we censor a person who we invited as a defender of LGBT rights, when we also have a “Where are you my love?” [LGBTI movies] part in the festival. That would be interesting.

I was on the stage, the translator was really just next to me, we were not able to hear clearly what Ian McKellen was saying. There was an acoustic problem and the translator skipped it. It was an unfortunate skip. We didn’t understand why people were reacting and we continued. Later we explained to him the situation as well.

Here, I would like to say again, as Istanbul Film Festival, we neither interfere with our guests’ sexual identities, nor do we prevent them from expressing it clearly. I want that to be known.

On social media, they also wrote that Istanbul Film Festival was “homophobic.” That’s interesting. Now, if you allow me, I would like to invite Ian McKellen to the stage. This would be an answer to those who call us “homophobic.” I hope you will join me.

  • Kerem Ayan: Where are you my love?
  • Crowd: I am here, my love!
  • Sir Ian McKellen: I am here, my love! [1]

Maybe he wants to say a few words.

Sir Ian McKellen:

What a wonderful privilege it is to be in your beautiful city. Invited first by the festival as a film actor and before I knew what was happening, I was meeting the ambassador from my country to your country and the British Council.

[1] “Where are you my love?” or “Nerdesin Aşkım?” and the response “I am here, my love?” or “Buradayım Aşkım” are popular slogans in Turkey chanted by LGBTI individuals and allies.

Kaos GL: Ian McKellen said “as a gay man,” translator ignored!

Sir Ian McKellen was presented an award by the Istanbul Film Festival. During his speech at the opening gala he said, “as an openly gay man” but the translator didn’t translate it into Turkish.

Editor’s note: See the festival’s response here.

Source: Yıldız Tar, “Ian McKellen said ‘as a gay man’, interpreter ignored!” Kaos GL, April 5 2017, http://kaosgl.org/page.php?id=23476

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Organised by the Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts (İKSV), Istanbul Film Festival’s 36th edition kicked off with an opening gala on Tuesday night, April 4. The opening gala brought the stars and distinguished figures of Turkish cinema together at TİM Show Center where Cinema Honorary Awards and plaques were presented.

Sir Ian McKellen was one of the actors who won an award. During his speech at the gala he said, “as an openly gay man”. However, the translator of the festival ignored this phrase. LGBTI activist Seçil Epik told KaosGL.org what happened during the gala:

“After being invited to the stage by Kerem Ayan, one of the coordinators of Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts Film Festival, to receive his Honorary Award, Ian McKellen started to introduce himself by saying that he is 78, born in England and that he identified himself as an actor from Great Britain. Then he continued his speech with the words “as an openly gay man”, but the simultaneous translator did not translate those words into Turkish. First Kerem Ayan on stage, then the audience who speak English were in a little bit of a shock. Subsequently, even if Ian McKellen understood that something went wrong with the translation and looked at the translator, the program flow continued as if nothing had happened.”

Murathan Mungan: Great shame!

Famous poet and author Murathan Mungan shared the incident from his social media account:

“A great shame happened during the opening gala of the Istanbul Film Festival. As a gay rights activist as well as a great actor, Ian Mckellen started his sentence while mentioning the bans on Turkey and said, “As an openly gay man” however simultaneous interpreter skipped this sentence, censored it. It is worrisome that even in the Istanbul Film Festival organization there are ‘morality guards’ regarding the internalization of fear, oppression, anxiety and homophobia.”

McKellen’s Istanbul program

One of the most beloved actors of the screen and theatre with his outstanding performances in Richard III, Gods and Monsters, Lord of the Rings series and X-Men, Sir Ian McKellen has also been the ambassador of British Council’s Shakespeare Lives programme in 2016 Opens in a new tab or window.

Sir Ian McKellen will be the guest of Istanbul Film Festival by IKSV and receive a cinema honorary award. Sir McKellen will also be meeting LGBT groups to support equality.

Editor’s Note: Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts tweeted the following response after Kaos GL’s story.

“An incorrect perception that honorary guest of the 36. @ist_filmfest Sir Ian McKellen’s speech during the opening ceremony was censored.”

“We would like to express that the hitch in the translation @ist_filmfest was caused by sound not reaching the stage during the speech and was not intentional.”

Doğuş Media Group’s Strange Censoring of National Geographic

Both the headline and cover photo of January 2017 issue of National Geographic magazine, published under Doğuş Media Group in Turkey, were strangely censored.

Source: GZone, “Doğuş Dergi Grubundan National Geographic’e Tuhaf Sansür” ( “Doğus Media Group’s Strange Censor to National Geographic”), 2 January 2017, http://gzone.com.tr/dogus-dergi-grubundan-national-geographice-tuhaf-sansur/

The historic issue, which we had covered earlier on GZone, has  9 year-old trans kid Avery Jackson on the cover and the headline reads “Gender Revolution,” i.e.  “Cinsiyet Devrimi” in Turkish.

Avery Jackson, who is the first trans individual to appear on the cover of the 128 year-old magazine, had  reported having received homophobic insults and threats via social media after the publication of the issue.

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Doğuş Media Group, who own the rights of the magazine in Turkey and have been publishing it for the last 17 years, has in a sense censored the cover photo and the headline by mistranslatıng it.

The same issue of the magazine in Turkey did not have the trans kid Avery Jackson on the cover and the headline which should have been translated as  “Cinsiyet Devrimi” [“Gender Revolution” –trans.] was translated as “Cinsiyet Mücadelesi” [“Gender Struggle” –trans] for some reason.

The cover on the Turkish edition of the magazine minimizes the perceived content to heterosexual female and male gender despite content which predominantly addresses LGBTI individuals and the expanding perception of gender.

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